Lacrosse 101

Learn the basics of lacrosse from positions to equipment to rules. 

Women's Lacrosse Positions:


The Attack: There are 3-4 attackers, all who look to score.  Attackers must continually cut toward the goal for a shot, or cut away from the goal to make room for another player. All should have excellent stickwork and be able to shoot well from every angle and distance from the goal. 

The Midfield: The midfielders are responsible for transitioning the ball from defense to attack and vice versa. They should have speed and endurance and be ready to receive the ball from the defense and run or pass the ball.  There are 4-5 midfielders, which play on both the offensive and defensive ends and have to ability to score. 

The Defense: There are 3-4 defenders that mark the opposing attackers.  They should be able to stick check, body check and look to intercept passes.  Also, they should be able to receive clears, run fast and have good footwork.

Goalkeeper: The goalkeeper's responsibility is to protect the goal and help "clear" the ball form the defense to the offense. She should have good stickwork, courage and confidence.

Women's Lacrosse Equipment:

Crosse: The crosse (lacrosse stick) is made of wood, laminated wood, or synthetic material, with a shaped net pocket at the end. The crosse must be an overall length of 35½ to 43¼ inches. The head of the crosse must be seven to nine inches wide. The pocket of the stick must be strung traditionally; no mesh is allowed. The top of the ball when dropped in the pocket must remain even with or above the side walls. The goalkeeper's crosse may be 35½ to 48 inches long. The head of the crosse may be mesh and up to 12 inches wide.

Ball: The ball must be yellow and made of solid rubber. The ball must be 7¾ to 8 inches in circumference and weigh 5 to 5¼ ounces.

Mouthpiece: All players must wear colored mouthguards.

Protective Equipment: Close-fitting gloves, nose guards, soft head gear and eye guards are optional, and may be worn by all players.

The Goalkeeper's Equipment: The goalkeeper must wear a face mask and helmet with a mouth guard, throat protector and chest protector. The goalkeeper may wear padding on hands, arms, legs, shoulders and chest which does not excessively increase the size of those body parts.

Women's Lacrosse Rules:

Click here to get a full overview of the rules of Women's Lacrosse. 

Lacrosse Skills:


  • Cradle: Moving the stick from side to side causing the ball to remain in the upper part of the pocket webbing.

  • Checking: Using a controlled tap with a crosse on an opponent's crosse in an attempt to dislodge the ball.

  • Catching: The act of receiving a passed ball with the crosse.

  • Cutting: A movement by a player without the ball in anticipation of a pass.

  • Dodging: The act of suddenly shifting direction in order to avoid an opponent.

  • Passing: The act of throwing the ball to a teammate with the crosse.

  • Pick-Ups: The act of scooping a loose ball with a crosse.

  • Shootings: The act of throwing the ball at the goal with the crosse in an attempt to score.

Lacrosse Terms:


  • Clear: Any action taken by a player within the goal circle to pass or carry the ball out of the goal circle.

  • 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.

  • Crosse (Stick): The equipment used to throw, catch, check and carry the ball.

  • Crosse Checking: Stick to stick contact consisting of a series of controlled taps in an attempt to dislodge the ball from the crosse.

  • Deputy: A player who enters the goal circle when the goalie is out of the goal circle and her team is in possession of the ball.

  • Draw: A technique to start or resume play by which a ball is placed in between the sticks of two standing players and drawn up and away.

  • Eight-Meter Arc: 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 the offense when a major or minor foul is committed by the defense. 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 (Shooting Space): 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.

  • Goal 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.

  • Grounded: Refers to any part of the goalkeeper's or deputy's body touching the ground for support outside of the goal circle when she attempts to play the ball from inside 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 or one of her teammates has played the ball.

  • Marking: Being within a stick's length of an opponent.

  • Penalty Lane: The path to the goal that is cleared when a free position is awarded to the attacking team.

  • Scoring Play: A continuous effort by the attacking team to move the ball toward the goal and to complete a shot on goal.

  • Stand: All players, except the goalkeeper in her goal circle, must remain stationary following the sound of any whistle.

  • 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.

  • 12-Meter Fan: A semi-circle in front of the goal used for the administration of minor fouls.

  • Warning Cards: A yellow card presented by an umpire to a player is a warning which indicates that she will next receive a red card and be suspended from further participation if she continues to play dangerously and/or conduct herself in an unsportsmanlike manner. A green card is presented by an umpire to the team captain indicating a team caution for delay of game.