Extremely Helpful Rules and Regulations of Lacrosse

​Boys & men’s lacrosse basic rules are provided on this page. The rules can, however, differ significantly based on the player’s age. U8 boys lacrosse rules differ considerably from college men’s lacrosse rules.

Rules of Lacrosse

  • Each team has ten players: three attackers, three middies, three Lacrosse defenders, and one goalkeeper.
  • Boys lacrosse awards one point for each goal scored. A 2 point shot is not allowed in boys lacrosse (unlike the MLL).
  • The maximum number of long poles per team is four.
  • Goalies are the only players allowed to touch the ball with their hands.
  • The defensive-area line must have four players behind it (except in a man-down situation) to avoid an offsides penalty.
  • When in the goal crease area, an opposing player cannot touch the goalie or his stick.
  • As soon as the ball leaves the bounds, play is stopped. The team of the player who is nearest to the location of the ball when it goes out of bounds wins possession after a shot on goal goes out of bounds. It is the team that did not touch the ball last that receives possession when the ball goes out of bounds for any other reason than a shot.
  • Boys older than 12 are not allowed to do body checking. Body checks are not allowed at the 12U, 10U, and 8U levels.
  • The penalties for lacrosse vary based on the player’s age. You can find the penalties for each age group in the rule books below. It is illegal to hold, cross check, illegal body check, illegal screen, or use illegal sticks when playing lacrosse. Visit the Lacrosse Penalties section of the wiki for additional penalties.
  • Older boys’ lacrosse fields measure 110-120 yards maximum in length and 53 1/3 and 60 yards wide.

Additional Rules for Lacrosse

Youth Lacrosse Rules

Youth lacrosse rules are not much different from men’s lacrosse rules, but there are some notable differences. In the youngest divisions, body checking is not allowed, so the for physical contact are kept to a minimum. 

There are also certain rules that vary from one league to another in youth lacrosse. Some leagues’ youth lacrosse rules shorten game periods, quarters, or halves, so the youngest players learn basic lacrosse rules and gameplay on smaller fields with fewer players.

High School Rules

There are generally similar rules for high school lacrosse and college. The NCAA lacrosse rules and regulations state 15-minute quarters, but high school lacrosse regulations call for (4) 12-minute stop-time quarters. 

There may be slight differences in rules between high school lacrosse leagues. In addition to the parameters specified in the basic lacrosse rules, there are some variations in field dimensions.


There are quite a few differences in the way women’s lacrosse is played from men’s lacrosse. There are some major differences between the rules of men’s and women’s lacrosse, starting with the fact that women’s lacrosse can have 12 players on the field at once rather than 10 in men’s. 

Checking and most forms of physical contact are also banned in women’s lacrosse. Because of potential contact, a face-off doesn’t always start the game. A draw for the first possession occurs between the captains of the 2 women’s lacrosse teams at midfield.

Women’s rules differ from men’s. There are also differences in equipment regulations between the women’s league and the men’s league. Generally speaking, women’s lacrosse padding is smaller, and helmets are only required for goalkeepers in many leagues.

According to men’s rules, the pockets in the head of the stick are shallower in order to encourage faster passing and shooting. The league’s rules specify the size of the stick used by each player besides the goalie.

NCAA/College Rules

Standard lacrosse rules are most similar to college rules. When one team is in the lead, NCAA lacrosse rules require a 60-second shot clock, but smaller colleges may enforce an 80-second shot clock. Coaches can approve altered field dimensions if they are approved in advance by NCAA lacrosse.

Rules of Professional/MLL

College rules are similar to those of the Professional Lacrosse League. 

A PLL field is 100 yards long and 60 yards wide, which is slightly shorter than a conventional field. In addition, players who hit shots outside a 15-yard marker can score an extra point. 

In PLL, 52 seconds is the shot clock, but diving shots are allowed, unlike college rules which require a restraining box. Unlike NCAA games, PLL games have four 12-minute quarters instead of 15 minutes.


What can’t you do in lacrosse?

A cross-check, a slash, a trip, a body check that is illegal, a crosse (stick) that is illegal, and unsportsmanlike conduct are all fouls.

How do you defend in lacrosse?

Keeping your man between you and the goal is the first rule of defense. Every time the other team has the ball, this is the basic tenet of defense.

There are so many times when our players cover a man adjacent to, or in front of him. They are out of position at other times, too.

When is a hit in lacrosse illegal?

Checks on illegal bodies
Using a force that is above or below the waist on someone.
Behind-the-back hits.
The player’s body must be within 5 feet of the loose ball if they are not in possession of it or 5 feet of it.
Using any part of your body (other than your feet) as a weapon.

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