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Lax Basics and Rules


    Lacrosse (often written as LAX) is a sport with ties to the Iroquois Nation tribes in what is now New York. It is played internationally and is the fastest growing youth sport in the country!  At the college level, lacrosse provides a greater opportunity for athletes to compete, with 12.3% going to play on a NCAA Lacrosse team compared to 5.6% of HS soccer players and 3.4% of basketball players. (see NCAA publication)


    Raptors Youth Lacrosse follows the rules and guidelines of USA Lacrosse: found here for BOYS or GIRLS.

    At the older levels, the sport is played with ten players on each team; a goalkeeper; three defenders in the defensive end; three midfielders (often called "middies") free to roam the whole field; and three attackers attempting to score goals in the offensive end. The object of the game is to shoot the ball into the opponent’s goal and to keep the other team from scoring. The team scoring the most goals wins. The goals, 6 feet by 6 feet, sit inside a circular "crease".  An attacking player cannot enter the crease around the goal, but may reach in with his stick to scoop a loose ball. Each offensive and defensive area is surrounded by a "restraining box." 

    The Stick:

    Each player carries a lacrosse stick (or crosse). A "short stick" measures between 30 inches and 42 inches long (head and shaft together) is typically used by midfielders and attackmen. A total of four players per team may carry a "long pole" or "long stick" that are 52 inches to 72 inches long. The goalkeeper is allowed to have a stick from 40 inches to 72 inches long and the head of a goalkeeper's crosse may measure up to 15 inches wide.  

    Face Off:
    Each quarter, and after each goal scored, play is restarted with a face-off. During a face-off, two players lay their stick horizontally next to the ball, head of the stick inches from the ball and the butt-end pointing down the midfield line. Face-off-men scrap for the ball, often by clamping it under their stick and flicking it out to their teammates. Attackers and defenders cannot cross their restraining line until one player from the midfield takes possession of the ball or the ball crosses the restraining line. 

    During play, teams may substitute players in and out freely. Sometimes this is referred to as "on the fly" substitution. Substitution must occur within the designated exchange area. For most penalties, the offending player is sent to the penalty box and his team has to play without him and with one less player for a short amount of time. Most penalties last for 30 to 60 seconds. The team that has taken the penalty is said to be playing man down while the other team is on the man up. Teams will use various lacrosse strategies to attack and defend while a player is being penalized. 

    Offsides is penalized by a 30 second penalty. It occurs when there are more than six players (three midfielders/three attackmen or three midfielders/three defensemen) on one half of the field. The zones are separated by the midfield line. Defensemen and attackmen can cross the midfield line, however the team must assure that a midfielder "stays back" in order to avoid an offsides penalty (a midfielder will raise his crosse to signify they are staying back).  If the ball or a player in possession of the ball goes out of bounds, the other team is awarded possession. If the ball goes out of bounds after an unsuccessful shot, the player nearest to the ball when and where it goes out of bounds is awarded possession.

    Additional Youth Rules:
    In addition, our league has the following rules:
    1) Two passes prior to a shot on goal - The team with the ball needs to complete two passes before they can make a shot on goal.
    2) Limited face-offs - Instead of facing off again after a goal, the team that was just scored on will take possession and clear it.  This will speed up the play.
    3) No body checks - At this age and size the boys can stick check, but are not allowed to body check.

    Use these links to find the official USA Lacrosse Rules for 
    Girls or Boys.


    Clearing: Running or passing the ball from the defensive half of the field to the offensive half of the field.
    - Holding: Occurs when a player impedes the movement of an opponent or an opponent's crosse, or a player has his crosse in between the arm pa
    ds and the players body.
    - Interference: Occurs when a player interferes in any manner with the free movement of an opponent, except when that opponent has possession of the ball, the ball is in flight and within five yards of the player, or both players are within five yards of a loose ball.
    - Pick: An offensive maneuver in which a stationary player attempts to block the path of a defender guarding another offensive player. A moving pick occurs when an offensive player moves into and makes contact with a defensive player with the purpose of blocking him from the man he is defending. 
    - Pushing: Occurs when a player thrusts or shoves a player from behind.
    - Riding: The act of trying to prevent a team from clearing the ball from the offensive half to defensive half of the field.
    - Release: The term used by an official to notify a penalized player in the box that he may re-enter the game occurs at the conclusion at a time-serving penalty.
    - Slashing: Occurs when a player's stick viciously contacts an opponent in any area other than the stick or gloved hand on the stick. 
    - Tripping: Occurs when a player obstructs his opponent at or below the waist with the crosse, hands, arms, feet or legs.Cross Checking: Occurs when a player uses the handle of his crosse between his hands to make contact with an opponent.
    - Warding Off: Occurs when a player in possession of the ball uses his free hand or arm to hold, push or control the direction of an opponent this includes pushing him off.
    *** Use these links to find the official US Lacrosse Boys' Rules as a PDF or a video.


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    NCAA Lacrosse is shown on ESPNU from late February through May, with the NCAA Tournament on Memorial Day weekend (every bit as exciting as March Madness).  With scoring typically in the teens for each team, it's an exciting sport to watch.  The dominant teams have historically been eastern schools like Syracuse, Johns Hopkins, Duke and any team from Maryland or NY.  But recently Denver and Notre Dame have burst on to the scene in recent years.  Games are usually on Saturday and Sunday.

    Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) is the professional outdoor league, which merged with Major League Lacrosse (MLL) in 2020.   The PLL season begins in June and runs through mid-September.  It has 8 teams which play at various sites around the country each weekend.   



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    Brentwood, Tennessee  

    Email: [email protected]

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