Introduction to Girl's Lacrosse

US Lacrosse welcomes you and your young players to the sport of lacrosse.   Lacrosse has benefited from rapid growth in recent years. More and more people every day are learning to play America’s oldest – and fastest growing – sport.

Lacrosse is about having fun and learning a sport. As parents, part of your role is to make sure that your child is enjoying her lacrosse experience. Be positive about your child’s participation. Encourage. Support. Volunteer. Remind your child, AND yourself, that winning is not everything. You and your child will participate in many games over the years and the friendships and great experiences will certainly outweigh the win/loss record in your child’s memory.

Guiding Principles for Women’s lacrosse:

  • Honor the origins of the game
  • Commit to the core values of the game’s culture
  • Respect all participants
  • Recognize the value of fair play in both the letter and spirit of the game

Respecting these guiding principles, the women’s game today continues to be of finesse and speed, using minimum equipment and prohibiting intentional body contact. Since 1932, the rules of women’s lacrosse as written by the United States Women’s Lacrosse Association (1921-1998) and US Lacrosse (1999-present) have evolved to maintain the spirit of the game and to ensure the safety of the players. The purpose of the Official Girls’ Youth rules is to familiarize young players with the sport of women’s lacrosse by introducing them to the terms, the field, the playing positions, the concept of teamwork and the skills required to play the game safety and fairly. Remember that the women’s game is different than the men’s game – in its history, its rules, penalties for contact and equipment.

Girls’ lacrosse is a non-contact game played by 12 players: a goalkeeper, four attackers, three midfielders and four defenders. Eight players may cross the restraining line into the opponents offensive zone and four stay behind. The object of the game is to shoot the ball into the opponent’s goal. The team scoring the most goals wins.

Girls’ and women’s lacrosse begins with a draw, which is taken by the center position. The ball is placed between two horizontally held crosses (sticks), placed back-to-back, at the center of the field. At the sound of the whistle, the ball is flung into the air as the crosses are pulled up and away. The sticks must come up over the players’ heads. A draw is used to start each half and after each goal, and it takes place at the center of the field. Only five players from each team are permitted between restraining lines at the time of the draw. Once the signal for the draw occurs, the players behind each restraining line may cross over.

Basic skills:
Field players may pass, catch or run with the ball in their crosse. When a whistle blows, all players must stop in place. Rough checks, and contact to the body with the crosse or body, are not allowed, however, incidental body contact may occur.

Please see the appropriate section for your daughter's age group: http://www.uslacrosse.org/rules/girls-rules

To get a complete copy of the rules for girls’ lacrosse, please visit the us lacrosse website at www.uslacrosse.org/store.

Field and Equipment

Attack (See US Lacrosse rules for your age group):

  • Great ball handling/stick skills
  • Set up and assist teammates to score
  • Defend when the opposition goalie is trying to clear the ball

Midfield (See US Lacrosse rules for your age group):

  • Speed and endurance, strong stick work and versatility
  • Play both attack and defense
  • Role as an attacker: Transition ball onto the offensive side, create fast-break opportunities
  • Role as a defender: Stop offensive team from creating a fast break

Defense (See US Lacrosse rules for your age group):

  • Defend the goal by “marking” opponents in the critical scoring area (the arcs)
  • Strong communication skills, solid field vision, exceptional footwork
  • Understand angles to be successful at seeing the ball and girl
  • Create and cause turnovers and get the ground ball

Goalie (1 per team):

  • Protect the goal by stopping shots
  • Excellent communicator
  • Strong mental disposition
  • Lead the defense

Required Equipment

Lacrosse stick: A legal stick must meet the following standards:

  • Made of wood, laminated wood or synthetic material with a shaped net pocket at the end. Stick must be 35.5-43.25 inches.
  • Pocket must be strung traditionally.  No mesh is allowed and must have designated stringing holes.
  • The pocket is legal when the ball is pressed down into the pocket (then quickly released) and the top of the ball remains above the sidewalls.

Ball: Must be smooth or slightly textured solid rubber and must be yellow or bright orange in color.

Mouthpiece: Must fully cover the upper jaw teeth. The mouthpiece must be of any visible color other than clear or white.

Protective eyewear (mandatory): All field players must wear properly fitted eye protection that meets the ASTM specification standard F803 for women’s/adult youth lacrosse for the appropriate level of play. For a complete list of approved eyewear, visit www.uslacrosse.org.

Other protective equipment (optional): Close-fitting gloves, nose guards and soft head gear are optional and may be worn by all players.

Common Minor Fouls
For a minor foul, the offending player is placed for a free position shot four meters off, in the direction from which she approached her opponent before committing the foul, and play is resumed. When a minor foul is committed in the 12-meter fan, the player with the ball has an indirect free position, in which case the player must pass first or be checked by an opponent before the team may shoot.

Body Ball: A ball that rebounds off of a field player’s body to her or her team’s distinct advantage.

Empty Crosse Check: A player may not check or hold an opponent’s cross unless the ball is in contact with the opponent’s cross.

Goal circle fouls: Occurs when any part of an offensive or defensive player’s body or crosse, except
that of the goalkeeper or deputy, enters the goal circle.

Warding Off: Occurs when a player guards a ground ball with her crosse or foot, removes one hand from the crosse and uses her free arm to ward off an opponent.

Offsides: Occurs when a team has too many players over the restraining line.

Sample of Major Fouls
Fouls are categorized as major or minor, and the penalty for fouls is a “free position.” For major fouls, the offending player is placed four meters behind the player taking the free position.

Blocking: When contact is initiated by a defender who has moved into the path of an opponent with the ball without giving that player a chance to stop or change direction.

Charging: When a player charges, barges, shoulders or backs into an opponent, or pushes with the hand or body.
Dangerous Propelling and following through: When a player propels the ball without control in the direction of another player. This is a mandatory card.

Shooting Space: When a defender is not closely marking her opponent, within a stick’s length of an
opponent and is in the free space to goal of the attack player with the ball. The attack player must have the opportunity and be looking to shoot.

Dangerous Check: When a defender swings her crosse at an opponent’s crosse or body with deliberate viciousness or recklessness, whether or not the opponent’s crosse or body is struck. A check to the head is a mandatory card.

Three Seconds: A defender may not stand within the eight-meter arc for more than three seconds unless she is closely marking an opponent within a stick’s length.

Glossary for Girls’ Lacrosse

Checking: Using crosse-to-crosse contact in an attempt to dislodge the ball.
Clear: Any action taken by a goalkeeper from within the goal circle to pass or carry the ball out of the goal circle.
Cradle: The coordinated motion of the arms and wrists that keeps the ball secure in the pocket and ready to be passed or shot when running.
Critical scoring area: An area 15 meters in front of and to each side of the goal and nine meters behind the goal. An eight-meter arc and 12-meter fan are marked in the area.
Draw: A technique to start or resume play by which a ball is placed in between two sticks held back to back and drawn up and away.
Eight-meter arcs: A semi-circular area in front of the goal used for the administration of major fouls. A defender may not remain in this area for more than three seconds unless she is within a stick’s length of her opponent.
Free Position: An opportunity awarded to one player when a major or minor foul is committed by a player from the other team. All players must move four meters away from the player with the ball. When the whistle sounds to resume play, the player may run, pass or shoot the ball.
Free space to Goal: A cone-shaped path extending from each side of the goal circle to the attack player with the ball. A defense player may not, for safety reasons, stand alone in this area without closely marking an opponent.
Goalie circle: The circle around the goal with a radius of 2.6 meters (8.5 feet). No player’s stick or body may “break” the cylinder of the goal circle.
Indirect free Position: An opportunity awarded to the offense when a minor foul is committed by the defense inside the 12-meter fan. When the whistle sounds to resume play, the player may run or pass, but may not shoot until a defender has checked her crosse or she passes to a teammate.
Modified checking: Checking the stick only if the entire stick is below shoulder level. The check must be in a downward direction and away from the body.
sphere: An imaginary area, approximately 18 cm (seven inches) which surrounds a player’s head. No stick checks toward the head are allowed to break the sphere.

The Role of Parents
You as the parent are equally as important to your child’s positive lacrosse experience as the coach of the team. In order for your child to get the most out of playing lacrosse, it is important that you do the following:

  1. Be supportive of your child by giving encouragement and showing an interest in her team. Positive reinforcement encourages learning and fun.
  2. Attend games whenever possible. If you cannot attend, ask about your child’s experience, not whether the team won or lost.
  3. Be a positive role model by displaying good sportsmanship at all times to coaches, officials, opponents and your child’s teammates. “honoring the game” is an important part of what us lacrosse represents. help us by honoring the game in your behavior as a spectator.
  4. Let your child set her own goals and play the game for herself. Be your child’s “home court advantage” by giving her your unconditional support regardless of how well she performs.
  5. Let the coach coach. refrain from giving your child advice when hshe is playing. also, let the coach know when she is doing a good job.
  6. Respect the decisions of the referees or umpires. they are the authority on the field.
  7. Read the rulebook. A full understanding of the rules will help you enjoy the game and educate others.
  8. Get to know who is in charge. meet with the leadership of the program, whether it is school- sponsored or recreational, to discuss topics such as cost, practice and game scheduling, insurance coverage, emergency procedures, etc. Be a good consumer for your child.
  9. Get involved – coach or assist, keep score, run the clock, line the fields, manage the equipment, raise funds, coordinate social events, develop an online picture book, help manage the team web site. these are just a few of the activities that parents can do
  10. to get involved and support the team. Go to www. uslacrosse.org for more ways to volunteer.
  11. Sit back and enjoy the game. remember, lacrosse is played for fun.