Everybody knows lacrosse is a rough sport, but the game protects its players. From slashing to warding off, lacrosse rules emphasize safety. To avoid time in the penalty box, learn the ins and outs of the rules of the game. Lacrosse rules play a significant role in every game. A man-up situation late in a game can decide the contest.
Illegal Body Check
Before we explain what an illegal body check is in lacrosse, let us start with what is legal. A legal body check has four components.
- The player that receives the body check must have possession of the ball or be within five yards of it (three yards for youth play).
- Contact must be initiated from the front or the side.
- Contact must also be above the waist but below the neck.
- The player applying the check must keep both hands on his stick, also known as a crosse.
Other types of body checks, like running across the field to hit another player, are illegal. A late hit sends players to the penalty box as well.
A cross-check is a personal foul that will force your team to play man-down.
“A player may not check his opponent with his crosse in a cross-check position. That is, a check with that part of the handle of the crosse that is between the player’s hands, either by thrusting away from the body or by holding it extended from the body,” according to the National Federation of State High School Associations and US Lacrosse Boys’ Youth Rules.
This player safety rule protects you from being hit with an exposed metal shaft.
Simply put, if one player causes another to fall over their team could be flagged for tripping. For example: a player sticks out his foot, stick or arm to send a running player to the ground.
“A player may not trip an opponent with any part of his body or crosse. Tripping is obstructing an opponent at or below the waist with the crosse, hands, arms, feet or legs…,” the rulebook states.
Players on the ground can also be penalized for tripping if they use any part of their body or stick to cause an opposing player to fall over.
However, if a player falls to the ground as a natural part of the action of the game, there is no foul. For example, players who run into each other and fall down.
The rules of lacrosse allow for stick-checking but within moderation. A poke check or a slap check is legal, but winding up your stick is not.
Slashing is “swinging a crosse at an opponent’s crosse or body with deliberate viciousness or reckless abandon, regardless of whether the opponent’s crosse or body is struck,” the rules state.
A stick-check to the head also results in a penalty. In youth lacrosse, one-handed checks are illegal, though they are allowed in the upper levels of lacrosse.
It is illegal for one player to hold another player’s body or stick with their body or stick at any time during a game. Holding can be called at or away from the ball.
However, holding is permitted with a stick within three yards of a loose ball.
The player who has the ball cannot use his free hand or arm or any of part of his body to hold, push or control the movement of an opposing player.
Offensive players are frequently called for warding off when they are holding their stick in one hand during a lacrosse dodge. To avoid this, hold your free arm in a fixed position.
If you are called for warding off, your team loses possession of the ball.
If you fail to follow lacrosse rules, you could jeopardize the game for your team. Penalties force your team to compete with fewer players on the field. Players beware, four personal fouls or five total minutes in the penalty box can result in a disqualification from the game.
With knowledge of these pivotal lacrosse rules, you will be better able to safely enjoy America’s oldest sport.