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Women's Lacrosse Basics

Lacrosse - women's1- History & Object
2- The Essentials (Offense & Defense, Scoring, Etc.)
3- Field Diagram and Positions
4- Fouls
5- Glossary of Lacrosse Terms

The Essentials

Game Length

A high school game is 50 minutes (college is 60 minutes), divided into 25-minute halves and separated by a 10-minute halftime. Teams switch playing sides for the second half and are allowed one time-out per half. Although games can end with a tied score, some leagues use “sudden death” overtime, in which the first team to score during overtime wins the game.

Start of the game

The action begins at the start of each half and after each goal with a draw at the center of the field. The team that takes possession of the ball during the draw is on offense.

Offense and Defense


Women’s lacrosse is a fast-paced game; since players are spread across a large field, speed is the key factor to success. Teamwork is also critical. Good passing leads to scoring chances and prevents the opposition from taking possession of the ball. Field players run while cradling the ball and look to pass to open teammates with the objective of creating an open shot at the goal. The action of pushing the head of the stick forward and pulling the shaft back produces extremely accurate and fast shots. Some basic offense strategies include trailer, stack, motion, back door, and dart.


The defense attempts to stop the offense from scoring by deflecting or intercepting passes, taking the ball from the opponent, or forcing bad shots. Physical contact is not permitted; however, when a defender is at least one step in front of an attacker, she can check the opponent’s crosse to knock the ball loose. Defenders will either play “man-to-man” defense, in which each player is assigned to guard a certain opponent, or “zone defense,” in which defensive players guard a specific area of the field.


A goal is awarded every time the ball enters the goal.



The “crosse,” or stick, has an aluminum or titanium shaft that connects to the head of the stick. The head is usually made of plastic and has strings or mesh that form a pocket to aid in catching and throwing the ball. The pockets of the sticks in women’s lacrosse are relatively shallow compared to those used in men’s lacrosse, making it more difficult to maintain control of the ball. Goalies use a larger stick and pocket. The ball is solid rubber and is about the size of a baseball. The women's game requires very little protective gear because it is non-contact.

Protective equipment for field players is limited to a mouth guard and padded gloves. Some players use shin pads and protective eyewear. Goalies don additional padding including helmet, gloves, and chest pad. Players also wear skirts, short-sleeved jerseys, and cleats or sneakers.

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