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Girls Lacrosse Rules of Play

Positions on the Girls Lacrosse Team

One of the significant differences between girls and boys lacrosse is that more players take the field in a regulation game on a girls team. The following are the positions in the girls game and the responsibilities that go along with them.


The primary role of this position is keeping balls out of the net. A goalie must be quick on her feet and willing to go after loose balls around the crease area. The more confident your goalie is, the more effective she'll be at turning away the different types of shots she'll face.


After the goaltender position, point is the most defensive-oriented position on the field. The player handling this position works closely with the goalie, communicating what the opponent is doing and orchestrating where players need to be on the field to counter the attack.

Your point player must be a good communicator to help prevent defensive breakdowns from occurring. Because the point player doesn't stray far from the net, she's often in position to intercept passes to the middle of the field while defending an attack.

Cover point

This players main task is to cover the oppositions second home. Good footwork is an asset for excelling in this position because the player must stick with the opponent to deny passes and shots on goal.

The cover point player is also relied on to make clearing passes, so she must be proficient at catching passes from the goalie and quickly turning upfield to look for teammates who can receive the ball.

Third player

This players key responsibility is covering the opposing teams third home. Important attributes for doing well in this position are good reflexes, the ability to read the opponents attack, and the ability to jump into the passing lanes to intercept balls.

Left and right defensive wings

These positions require substantial running, as the players primary responsibility is to guard the opponents left and right attack wings.


This position is a magnet of activity on both offense and defense. Because the position requires strong play both with and without the ball, as well as a variety of other skills, the teams best player usually handles this position.

The center patrols the middle of the field. When her team has control of the ball, she looks to step up into the action, where she can feed the ball to the first, second, and third home players. When her team is on defense, she retreats to her teams defensive half of the field, providing coverage against the opponents center, disrupting the passing lanes, and looking to intercept balls delivered by the attack wings.

Left and right attack wings

These positions cover a lot of territory as the players carry out supportive roles at the offensive end of the field most notably, feeding the ball to the players manning the first, second, and third home positions. They also must hustle back on defense to help out the left and right defensive wings.

Third home

A teams offensive prowess is enhanced whenever its third home player is an efficient passer. She can feed the ball to the first and second home players, as well as the right and left attack wings. She also takes shots on goal when scoring opportunities arise and creates openings for herself to shoot or pass.

Second home

This position is similar to the point guard position in basketball, because the second home orchestrates the offense and makes the passes that help the offense run smoothly and effectively. In lacrosse, this player should be an excellent ball handler, because she'll likely have the ball on her stick more than most of the other players.

The offense will be more difficult to defend if the second home player is a threat to score goals, too.

First home

This position represents the most offensive play on the lacrosse field. The first homes main responsibilities are to score goals and to deliver accurate passes to teammates who are in scoring position.

To excel in this position, a youngster must be quick and have sound ball-control skills.

Women's lacrosse is played with a team of 12 players.  The ball used is yellow. The duration of the game is 40 to 50 minutes depending on the level.


Please visit the US Lacrosse website for a complete description, pictures, and videos at

Women's lacrosse rules are specifically designed to allow less physical contact between players. As a result of the lack of contact, the only protective equipment required is eyewear and a mouthguard. The pockets of women's sticks are shallower than those of the men, making the ball harder to catch and more difficult to shoot at high speed.

Playing area

There are two different surroundings around the goal on both sides of the field. The eight meter arc and the 12 meter fan. When committing a major foul inside either of these areas, the offense regains the ball and has a direct opportunity to goal. If outside the 8-meter arc, but inside the fan, a lane to goal is cleared of all other players and the person who committed the foul is relocated 4 meters behind the offender. If inside the 8-meter-arc and a defensive foul occurs, all players that were previously inside the surrounding must take the most direct route out. The player who was fouled now moves to the nearest hash mark that is located around the edges of the arc and has a direct lane to goal. The defender who committed the foul is relocated on the 12-meter fan directly behind the shooter.

The shooting space rule in women's lacrosse is very important in keeping the players safe. It occurs when a defender moves into the offenders shooting land to goal, at an angle that makes the defender at risk of being hit by the ball if the offender were to shoot.

The draw is what starts the game and keeps the game going after a point. The draw is when two girls, one from each team, stand in the center circle with the backs of their sticks facing each other. Then the referee places the ball between the two sticks. Each player has to push their sticks together parallel to the ground to contain the ball. There are allowed four players from each team to stand along the circle surrounding the center circle during the draw. The players sticks around the circle cannot break the line until the whistle is blown. The centers must lift and pull their sticks over their heads releasing the ball.

When the referee blows the whistle during play everyone must stop exactly where they are. If the ball goes out of bounds on a shot then the player that is closest to the ball receives the possession. If the ball goes out of bounds not on a shot then the other team is awarded with the possession. For example, if a player threw a bad pass to her teammate and the ball went out of bounds then the other team would receive the ball.

In women's lacrosse, players may only check if the check is directed away from the ball carrier's head.

There are two types of fouls in woman's lacrosse, major and minor. When a minor foul is committed anywhere on the field, the player who fouled is set four meters to whichever side she was guarding the person she obstructed. If a major foul occurs outside of the 12 meter fan or eight meter arc, the fouler must stand four meters behind the player she fouled.


Major fouls

  • Rough/Dangerous Check
  • Check to the Head
  • Slash
  • Holding
  • Cross in the sphere
  • Illegal Contact
  • Illegal Use of Cross
  • Hooking
  • Reach across the body
  • Illegal cradle
  • Blocking
  • Charging
  • Pushing
  • Obstruction of the Free Space to Goal(Shooting Space)
  • Three Seconds
  • Illegal Pick
  • Tripping
  • Detaining
  • Forcing Through
  • False Start
  • Playing the ball of an opponent
  • Dangerous Propelling
  • Dangerous Follow-Through
  • Dangerous Shot
  • Illegal Shot

Minor fouls

  • Covering
  • Empty Stick Check
  • Warding off
  • Hand Ball
  • Squeeze the Head of the Cross
  • Body Ball
  • Throwing her cross in any circumstance.
  • Taking part in the game if she is not holding her cross.
  • Illegal Draw
  • On the center draw, stepping on or in to the center circle or on or over the restraining line before the whistle.
  • Illegal cross
  • Scoring a goal with a cross that does not meet the field cross specifications.
  • Adjusting the strings/thongs of her cross after an official inspection of her cross has been requested during the game. The cross must be removed.
  • Jewelry
  • Illegal Uniform
  • Illegal Substitution
  • Delay of game
  • Play from out of bounds
  • Illegal re-entry
  • Illegal Timeout

Umpire Signals: 

Notable Rule Changes for 2018: 

Each year the US Lacrosse Women's Game Rules Subcommittee meets to review and discuss rule suggestions and new injury data before presenting any rule changes to the board of directors. To make it easier, we've compiled highlights on the girls rule changes for 2018.

  • Player's sticks may touch the ground over the center circle and restraining line on the draw
  • During the draw, both sticks must be parallel to and above the center line
  • Early starts by players not takin the draw will result in the ball going to the on-offending team at the spot of the ball, not the spot of the foul
  • An illegal draw by a player will result in a free position at the center line with the offending player placed four meters away and illegal draws by both players will result in a redraw
  • Optional use of a 120- yard unified field for both boys and girls lacrosse to allow schools  the option of lining one set of shared field markings
  • No stick checks during timeouts
  • Table personnel can use a horn to notify officials of a timeout request by a coach


Stick Stringing Specifications Overview

  • Sticks that are currently legal will remain legal
  • Stringing may start to look different because mesh can now be part of the pocket
  • The on-field pregame stick check will now look at depth and movement on both the front and back facing side of the pocket. 
  • Shooting string rules haven't changed- they must be attached directly to the sidewall

Game Format Overview

A quick reference for the game format for each age group.

  • Players: 3v3 with no goalie
  • Field Size: 60-70 yards x 35-45 yards (cross field)
  • Equipment: soft-type ball; eyewear allowable but not required
  • Goal Size: 3 feet by 3 feet
  • Play of Game: No Draw
  • Players: 4v4 with no goalie
  • Field Size: 60-70 yards x 35-45 yards (cross field)
  • Equipment: soft-type ball; eyewear required
  • Goal Size: 3 feet by 3 feet
  • Play of Game: No Draw
  • Players: 8v8 including a goalie
  • Field Size: 60-70 yards x 35-45 yards (cross field)
  • Equipment: NOCSAE lacrosse ball; USL specifications for sticks with modified pocket allowed; eyewear required
  • Goal Size: 6 feet by 6 feet (5x5 or 4x4 allowable)
  • Play of Game: Players must hold for possession on the draw
  • Players: 8v8 or 12v12, depending on size of field used
  • Field Size: 60-70 yards x 35-45 yards (cross field) or 110-140 yards x 60-70 yards
  • Equipment: NOCSAE lacrosse ball; USL specifications for sticks and pockets; eyewear required
  • Goal Size: 6 feet by 6 feet
  • Play of Game: Players must hold for possession on the draw
  • Players: 12v12 includes goalies
  • Field Size: 110-140 yards x 60-70 yards
  • Equipment: Traditional sticks and balls
  • Play of Game: Players must hold for possession on the draw

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