Tyngsboro Youth Lacrosse

The Girls' Game

The Girls' Game

General:  Girls lacrosse and boys lacrosse, while having some similarities are actually quite different. While the ball is similar in weight and size, the official ball for the boys and girls games are different colors. The stick, known as a crosse, is different in length allowed and pocket depth. The girls wear much less safety equipment because their rules do not allow body contact. Additionally the fields are lined differently and the girls play with 2 additional players (4 Defense, 3 Middies, 4 Attack)

Girls Lacrosse Teams:  Two teams of 12 players are on the field at one time: 1 goalie, 4 defensemen , 3 midfielders (middies) and 4 attackmen.  Defensemen are positioned in the defensive half of the field.  Attackmen are positioned in the offensive half of the field.  Middies must attack, defend and cover the whole field.

Girls Lacrosse Field:  In 2006 US Lacrosse Women's Division Board of Governors voted there are now hard boundaries, there is still flexibility in the size of the playing area. The maximum playing area remains at 140 x 70 yards and the minimum playing area remains at 110 x 60 yards. The goals shall be placed no more than 100 yards and no less than 90 yards apart. There must be a minimum of 10 yards and a maximum of 20 yards of space behind each goal line to the end line. 

Additional markings on the field include a restraining line located 30 yards from each goal line, which creates an area where only a maximum of seven offensive players and eight defensive players (including the goalkeeper) are allowed; a 12-meter fan, which officials use to position players after fouls; and an arc in front of each goal, considered the critical scoring area, where defenders must be at least within a stick's-length of their attacker.

For U11, they must play on a regulation sized field with all appropriate markings whenever possible. Otherwise they may play on a modified field with reduced players. For U9 players the fields must be rectangular, between 60–70 yards in length and 30–40 yards in width to accommodate play on existing fields.

Girls Lacrosse Positions:  Four field positions 

  1. Goalie,
  2. Defenseman,
  3. Midfielder (Middie),
  4. and Attackman.

Goalie:  Plays inside the “crease” directly in front of her own goal to block incoming shots. She uses a stick with an over sized head to best prevent shots from scoring. The goalie is the only player allowed to touch the ball with her hands, but may do so only when she is standing inside the crease. Upon gaining control of the ball with her stick, the goalie has ten seconds either to pass the ball away or to run it out of her crease. If the goalie leaves the crease while in possession of the ball, she may not reenter the crease unless the ball goes back inside first or she passes the ball away.

Defense:  These  players help defend against offensive attacks and work to “clear” the ball from out of their goal area up to the midfielders. They generally remain on their defensive side of the field surrounding their team’s own goal.

Midfielder:  These  players contribute on both offense and defense while covering the entire length of the field. As the team’s main ball carriers, they control the tempo of the game.

Attack:  As the front line of the offensive attack, these players are usually the team’s primary goal scorers. They try to maintain offensive positions around the opposing team’s goal in order to gain scoring opportunities.

Girls Lacrosse Equipment:  All field players (everyone but the goalie) must wear a mouth guard with no protruding tabs and ASTM approved women's regulation lacrosse goggles while on the field during games AND practices.  Goalkeepers must wear a regulation helmet, throat protector, mouth guard, chest protector and goalie gloves while on the field during games AND practices. Leg padding and pelvic protection is recommended but not required.

Goals: regulation 6'x6' lacrosse cages.  

Ball: regulation solid yellow ball.  

Pocket Depth: as the crosse is held in a horizontal position, pressure is applied to and released from a ball dropped into the pocket. The ball must remain even with or above the wall of the crosse.

Start of the Game:  Each half of the game and any overtime periods is started with a draw. After each goal the game is restarted with a draw. If a four or more goal differential exists, in place of a draw the team with fewer goals will be awarded a free position at the center of the center circle.

Draw: Each center opponent places one foot toeing the centerline. The crosse is held above the hip and parallel to the centerline. The ball is sandwiched between the backs of the the opposing players crosses and upon the whistle the center players push their sticks up and out thus tossing the ball into the air. The ball must attain a height higher than the heads of the players taking the draw. An illegal draw will result in a free position being awarded to the no offending center. If both players draw illegally, or it cannot be determined which player was a fault, then the referee will toss the ball in the air between the two centers as they stand next to each other.

Start/Stop Play:  All play is started and stopped with a whistle. When the whistle is blown to stop play all field players must "stand" by not moving their feet unless directed to move by the official. The goalkeeper may move inside of the goal circle but if she was outside of the goal circle when the whistle blew she also must stand. Play resumes on the next whistle.

Scoring:  A goal is scored when the ball passes completely over the goal line drawn between the two goal posts. A goal may be scored if the ball bounces off a defenders crosse or body but not off an attack players body. A goal will NOT be scored if the ball enters the cage after a whistle, if a crease violation occurs, if and attack player fouls the goalie, if the attack's crosse is deemed illegal, or if the shot is ruled dangerous.

Substitutions:  Substitutions may be made at anytime the ball is in play, after goals and a halftime. Each team may substitute an unlimited number of players at any time during play. If substitutions are made while the ball is in play ("on the fly") they must take place through the team substitution area by the scorer's table. The player leaving must be completely off the field before the substitute may enter the field. This includes the goalkeeper.

Duration of Play:  A game is made up of two twenty-five minute running time halves.

Lacrosse Terminology:

Arc (Women’s):  This is the pizza-slice shaped area in front of the crease.  The curved line marks 8 meters from the goal circle and is used for positioning free shots on goal.  It is also the area within which a defender may not remain for more than three seconds unless she closely marking an opponent (somewhat like a key in basketball).

Ball or Ball down:  All players shout “Ball” any time the ball is on the ground.  Particularly in the men’s game, this can be the first indicator to the player who had it that he dropped it. “Ball” can also signal the intent of a player to go after the ball instead of the opponent.

Body Ball (Women’s):  A ball that rebounds off of a field player’s body to her or her team’s distinct advantage.  Minor foul. Box (Men’s) - The square-shaped area at each end of the field, noted by a dashed line on the sides and a solid line at the top.  If a team gains possession in their own box, or if they have possession in the area between the midfield and the opposing team’s box, they have only ten seconds to advance the ball either over midfield or into the other box.

Checking:  An attempt to dislodge the ball from an opponent's crosse by using controlled crosse to crosse contact.

Clearing:  An important defensive maneuver where defending players run or pass the ball out of their goal area. Clearing is best done along the sidelines, away from the front of the goal.

Cradling:  The semi-circular motion used to keep the ball in the pocket of the crosse.

Crease (aka goal circle):  The circle surrounding each team’s goal. Players other than the Goalie may never enter the opposing goal crease. (Specific different exceptions to this rule apply to the men’s and women’s games.)

Cutting:  When an attack player without the ball moves away from a defender and into position for receiving a pass. A cutting player is “a cutter.”

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

Draw (Women’s):  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.

Empty Crosse Check (Women’s):  A women’s game player may not check an opponent’s crosse unless the ball is in contact with the opponent’s crosse.  Minor foul.

Extra Man (aka Man Up or EMO):  Describes the team at a player advantage in a penalty situation.  Opposite of man down.

Fan (Women’s):  The fan is the semi-circular area in front of each goal with a 12-meter radius. Referees use the fan to administer fouls.

Feed Pass:  An offensive play in which one player passes the ball to a cutting teammate for a “quick stick” shot on goal.

Free Position (Women’s): 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, all players may move.

Ground Ball:  A loose ball on the playing field.  Players need to scoop it up to gain control and often use stick checks to keep the ball away from an opponent’s control.

Head of the Stick:  Attached to the handle, this is the plastic that contains the pocket for holding the ball. 

Man Down:  Describes the team which has lost a player to the penalty box.

Marking:  Being within a stick’s length of an opponent, in order to guard and prevent that player from receiving the ball.

Offsides:  Occurs when a team has too many players over the restraining line (in women’s) or center line (in men’s).

Out-of-bounds:  When a shot goes out of play, the player closest to the sideline where the ball went out gets the ball.  When a ball goes out-of-bounds not from a shot, the ball is awarded to the team that did not touch it last.

Passing:  An integral part to quickly moving the ball. Players throw overhand or underhand to each other. In most cases a high pass is easier to deal with than a low bouncing dribbler.

Pocket:  The portion of the head of the stick in which the ball is carried.  It is strung with mesh (not allowed in women’s) or with longitudinal thongs with cross lacing.  The pocket can be much deeper in the men’s game.

Scooping:  The manner in which a player picks up loose ground balls. The player bends toward the ground, and slides the stick under the ball to pick it up.  Moving through the ball and getting low are key elements to scooping.

Throw (Women’s):  A means of restarting play when no clear right-to-possession has been determined, such as when the two players committed off-setting fouls on the same play, or a dog ran onto the field!  The referee tosses the ball into the air between two opposing players.

Warding Off (Women’s):  Occurs when a player removes one hand from the crosse and uses her free arm to ward off an opponent.

Major Fouls


  1. Checks will be controlled.Check roughly or recklessly:  No stick checking will be allowed at the U12 level in the first four games of the season, full checking the second half of the season if both teams agree. If either team is not prepared to check, there will be no stick checking in that game.  Full stick checking is allowed throughout the U14 season. Checks will be downward and away from the body.
  2. Slash:  Checks will be short and controlled, there must be recoil.
  3. Hold Crosse within the seven-inch sphere around opponent's face and throat.
  4. Hook the bottom end of an opponent's crosse.
  5. Reach across opponent when level or behind.
  6. Block opponent' move in the path of an opponent with out giving her a chance to change direction.
  7. Obstruct free space to goal, denying the attack the opportunity to shoot safely.
  8. Remain in the 8 meter arc for more than 3 seconds unless marking an opponent within a sticks length away.
  9. Set a moving or stationary pick out of the visual field of the opponent if she does not have enough space or time to change direction and contact occurs.
  10. Detain by holding or pushing with body or crosse.
  11. Trip an opponent, deliberately or otherwise.
  12. Hold or cradle crosse within her own sphere or the sphere of opponent.
  13. Charge, barge, shoulder or back into an opponent, or push with hand or body.
  14. Propel the ball or follow through with crosse in a dangerous or uncontrolled manner.
  15. Shoot dangerously or without control. A dangerous shot is determined by distance, force and placement. A shot may not be directed at a field player or the goalkeeper's body (especially the head or neck). A shot may be called dangerous and a free position given to the goalkeeper even if it misses the goal.
  16. Shoot from an indirect free position.
  17. Violate the restraining line:  In this league this will result in a held whistle until all players have learned the restraining line rule. It is up to the coaches to instruct their teams on this rule and enforce the rule with their own team.

Minor Fouls

  1. Guard a ground ball with foot or crosse.
  2. Check an opponent's cross when she is trying to get possession of the ball (checking an empty crosse).
  3. Guard the crosse with an arm, ward off or elbow with free arm.
  4. Touch the ball with hand or body. (except goalkeeper)
  5. Use hand or body to keep the ball in the crosse.
  6. Use any part of the body to impede, accelerate or change the direction of the ball.
  7. Throw the crosse in any circumstance.
  8. Take part in the game if she is not holding her crosse.
  9. Draw illegally by: drawing too soon, if the movement of the crosse is not up and away, move before the whistle, or it the ball does not go higher then the heads of the players taking the draw.
  10. On the center draw step into the center circle before the whistle. (except for two players taking the draw)
  11. Play with a crosse that does not meet specifications.
  12. Adjust crosse after it has been checked and allowed into the game.
  13. Fail to be on the field after a time out or at half time.
  14. Take part in the game wearing jewelry or illegal uniform.
  15. Substitute illegally.
  16. Move before the whistle, or fail to stand when the whistle is blown.
  17. Intentionally delay the game, fail to move four meters away, fail to wear a mouthpiece, or any behavior that the referee determines is a delay of game.
  18. Deliberately cause the ball to go out of bounds.
  19. Score a goal with a crosse that does not meet the field crosses's specifications.
  20. Take a shot on goal until three passes, not including the goalkeeper's clear are completed or attempted. (League rule, possibly will be amended for the 2001 season to include the goalkeeper's clear as one of the passes).

Goal Circle Fouls
1) Enter of have any part of her body or crosse in the goal circle at any time unless deputizing for the goalkeeper.


  1. Allow the ball to remain in the goal circle for more than ten seconds.
  2. Reach beyond the goal circle to play the ball in the air or on the ground with her hand.
  3. Draw the ball into her goal circle when any part of her is grounded outside the circle.
  4. Step back into the goal circle when she has possession of the ball. (She may toss the ball into the circle and follow it in.)
  5. When outside the circle, throw any part of her equipment to her deputy.

Penalties for Fouls
A foul results in a free position by the team that was fouled with all players moving 4 meters away from the player with the ball.

For a MAJOR FOUL the offending player moves 4 meters BEHIND the girl awarded the free position.

For a MINOR FOUL the offending player moves 4 meters AWAY in the direction from which she approached.

In the critical scoring area, inside the 8 meter arc, a major foul by the defense will result in a free position taken on the 8 meter arc (a direct shot on goal).

A minor foul will result in an indirect free position in which case no shot may be taken until the ball has been played by another player.