Girls Lacrosse Rules for Beginners

Disclaimer: Rules and rule interpretations change from year to year. This is a summary of fouls and rules to review with new girls lacrosse players and is intended to cover most of what they need to become familiar with for a safe and functional game. Please visit US Lacrosse for current rule books.

There are many rules and fouls in girls lacrosse to keep the game safe for the players.  I have compiled a summary of the most common girls lacrosse rules to become familiar with.  These are truncated versions and there are certain situations when they vary and do or do not apply as written here.

Major or Minor Fouls

All players must stand at least four meters away from the player restarting a free position or indirect free position. On a major foul, the offending player must stand four meters behind the player taking the free position. On a minor foul, the offending player stands four meters away in the direction from which she approached before committing the foul.  Major fouls inside the 8 meter arc; the area is a cleared and a penalty shot is awarded.

Common Major Fouls:

Crosse in Sphere (Halo) – A player may not reach into or through the sphere or hold her crosse around the throat of an opponent. She may not directly poke or wave the crosse near an opponent’s face

Free Space to Goal (Shooting Space) -The space between the ball and the goal circle, which denies the attack the opportunity to shoot safely and encourages shooting at a player.

3-Second Rule (Defensive Foul) – While defending within the 8-meter arc, one cannot remain in that area more than 3 seconds unless one is marking an opponent within a stick’s length

Pick and Screens – A screen (or pick) occurs when a player without the ball, by her positioning, forces an opponent to take another route. To be legal, the player must be set within the visual field of the opponent, allowing the defender time and space to change her direction.

Dangerous Propelling – A player cannot maneuver the ball in her lacrosse stick in a dangerous manner and without regard to the people around her, such as shooting over or though players.

Dangerous Follow Through – Similar to dangerous propelling, but concerning the stick and not the ball.

Offensive Charging – A girls’ lacrosse player with the ball cannot push into a defensive player who has established position. This major foul often occurs within the 12-meter fan when a player is going toward the goal.

Common Minor Fouls:

Cover – Players cannot guard (cover) a ground ball with her foot or crosse.

Empty Stick Check – A girls’ lacrosse player can’t check another player’s stick that isn’t in contact with the ball. This applies only when the opponent could have gained possession of the ball.

Draw Control Motion – On draw controls, the two opposing players must move the ball with an up-and-away motion with their lacrosse sticks. A downward or outward motion is illegal, and the ball is awarded to the non-offending team with a free position.

Restraining Line (Offsides) – An offside is called when a team has more than seven players on or over the restraining line in its offensive end or more than eight players on or over the restraining line in its defensive end. (line 30 yards up from each goal line)

3-Second Rule (Offensive Foul) – The offensive player has three seconds to pass the ball or change her cradle – either switching her hands or the level she is holding the ball. If the ball remains stationary for more than three seconds, the referee awards the defense with a free position. This lacrosse rule is exempt if the offensive player is behind the goal and the defensive player guarding her is in front of the goal and mirroring her.

Goal Circle Violation – Players must stay out of the goalie circle. A goal does not count if the shooter or another offensive player steps on or into the goal circle or interferes with the goalie. A defensive player can reach her stick inside the goal circle to block or redirect a shot. Below the ninth-grade level, a shooter may not follow through with her lacrosse stick into the goalie circle.

10 Circumstances When a Goal Doesn’t Count:

1. The ball is put in goal by a non player

2. The ball comes off the body of an offensive player (defensive ok)

3. The ball enters after the whistle or horn (common with Free Space to Goal violation)

4. The shooter or any other attacker has entered the goal circle

5. The goal keeper, while within the goal circle is interfered with

6. Dangerous shot or follow through

7. The ball enters while the offensive team has an illegal player on the field

8 .The ball enters when the attacking team is offside

9. Illegal stick used to score

10. Shot scored from an indirect free position