There are various rules which players have to follow in a game of lacrosse. If you are endowed with the responsibility of coaching a boys’ team, you have to be fluent in these below mentioned rules:
- Players’ positions on-field – In the defensive half of the field, there should be minimum four members from each team, including the goalie. In the other half, there should be three players. Three midfielders are left free to cover the whole ground.
- Face-offs – Both the players taking the face-off have to stand on the same side of the center line as the goal the team is protecting. The sticks that the players have should touch the ground and the sticks should be held with both hands. The back of the sticks should touch one another. For initiating the game, the referee places the ball in between the two sticks. He then blows the whistle and players immediately try to get control of the ball. In the wing area, the players compete for the ball and other players wait till any one has gained its possession.
- Four seconds – In case a goalie has control of the ball and makes a stop at that time, he gets just 4 seconds for moving out of the crease or deliver a proper pass with the ball. Within this 4-second span no one can go in contact with the goalie. If the goalie comes out of the crease with the ball, he has no option of returning there until and unless he surrenders the possession.
- Checking – When the play reaches advanced levels, body checks are permitted against the ball carrier. The contact has to reach the front or side of the ball carrier. The contact should be between the area above waist and below shoulders.
- Serving penalties – Until the timekeeper releases a player, he has to serve time in the penalty box and remain there. He can only make his return to the field in two conditions – if his own team gets the ball possession in the attack goal area or if opponents score a goal.
Boys’ Lacrosse – Personal Fouls
When it comes to boys’ lacrosse, classification of fouls is done on ‘personal’ and ‘technical’ basis. Listed here are some of the most common kinds of fouls.
Different kinds of personal fouls
- Illegal body checking – When the opponent faces some unnecessary contact even when he has no ball possession or if the ball is not within 5 yards of him, the player who does the offence faces body checking. This is applicable after a player delivers check from opponent’s behind, takes a shot or passes the ball above his shoulders and below his waist.
- Cross checking – This is given when a player tries to make some kind of contact with opposing player by using the stick’s handle.
- Slashing – The stick of the player comes in contact with any part of the body of the opponent, apart from the hand holding the stick.
- Illegal gloves – Gloves that the player uses does not meet safety specifications of the league. This is either the glove’s problem or the player alters and tampers it in some way.
- Excessive roughness – Sometimes players use excessive force for contacting a player with the stick or with his own body.
- Illegal stick – The stick that the player uses might not meet the specifications of the league. The pocket of the stick might be too deep and that will give unfair advantage to the player while cradling the ball.
- Unsportsmanlike conduct – It depends on the referee to decide if the coach or players have committed any act which is unsportsmanlike. This might include taunting, swearing, showing obscene gestures etc.
- Tripping – When the opponent gets obstructed by the player below his waist using legs, arms or the stick.
On committing a personal foul, the player has to leave the game for a minute and this time he has to serve in the penalty box. This punishment gives his team shortage of player and a golden opportunity for the opponents to score a goal.
Boys’ Lacrosse – Technical Fouls
When compared to personal fouls, technical fouls don’t cost much to the offending team. Infact the enforcement of fouls are also different. On committing a technical foul, the player who committed the foul gets a 30-seconds penalty by the referee. It is checked at this moment as which team has ball possession. In case none of the teams had ball possession when the technical foul happened, the referee will hand over the ball to the team whose player got fouled at the infraction spot. If this happens, the opposition will not have to serve any penalty time.
Mentioned below are some kinds of technical fouls:
- Illegal screen – This happens when an offensive player tries making contact with a defender while he is trying to block him from defending the player, whom he is looking to cover.
- Holding – When the movement of the opponent is disrupted by the player by grabbing his stick or the opponent itself.
- Offside – Offside happens when a team is not able to have minimum 4 players on the defensive side and minimum 3 players on the offensive side of the midfield line.
- Illegal procedure – Sometimes unnecessary delays take place like players stand in the crease area, improper substitution of players etc. These are off-limits for everyone, except the goalie.
- Pushing – When a player pushes or shoves the opponent from behind.
- Stalling – In order to pass away time, one team might hold the ball intentionally and not run or play the normal offensive attack game. The referee will also call for a stalling foul when ball trapping continues by players for long time with their sticks.
- Interference – When the movement of an opponent is restricted by a player when he does not have ball possession or if he is not within 5 yards of loose ball.
The referee will not blow his whistle for stopping play when an attacking player gets fouled in the opponent’s half. Here, he will show a white flag to acknowledge that a foul is committed but at the same time allows the attacking team to continue play. The moment the offensive team is not able to move the ball forward, loses ball possession or takes a shot at the goal, the referee blows whistle to stop. The player responsible for committing penalty goes towards the penalty box for serving his penalty time. The penalty is warded off when the team gets a goal on the shot.
Modifications are possible in lacrosse to match players’ skill levels, experience and age. Coaching for the beginning levels of lacrosse includes teaching the kids about the basics of the game. Various kinds of rules and regulation are applicable for upper ranks of organized lacrosse. Mentioned below are some adjustments to the field and rules which are common in youth leagues.
Lesser numbers of kids on field for young age levels
In a regulation lacrosse game, there are 10 players in each team in boys’ team and 12 players in girls’ team. Younger the kids, fewer will be their numbers on the field at any given time. The idea for youngest age levels is to introduce the game to the kids with lots of touches to the ball. With fewer players on the field, this is possible. When the numbers increase kids will not have fun in touching the ball as their turn will come much later.
Modifications for different experience and age levels
- No goalie games – In the beginning levels, usually there is no goalie protecting the nets as there is practically no use of it. In the early stages, main emphasis is on introducing the kids to running with the ball, passing it and shooting it in a direction they are aiming at. With development skills, you will learn to get shots pass a goaltender and fake him out.
- Smaller field size – It is important that the size of the field should be adjusted as per the age of the players. Younger players generally play on a small field. If these kids play on a large field, they will lose all their energy and this will impact their skill levels in adverse manner. When beginning level players play on a small area, they get lots of touches of the ball. With age, speed and strength, players get confidence of playing on large fields.
- Coaching on-the-field – In some youth leagues, coaches remain on the ground during a game so that they can give proper instructions to the kids. At youngest levels, many leagues don’t even keep scores. Goal scoring is not primary in these games.
- Lesser numbers of rules in place – Lesser rules are followed for younger players. However, officials get instructions from their leagues that kids should be taught about the wrongs that they did on field so that they can learn about mistakes and start developing sound habits. Kids learn about infraction and acquire skills to let the game moving.
- Modified stick-checking – At beginning-levels, stick checking is allowed when the stick of an offensive player is at the level of waist or below. At a little more advanced level, stick checks are at chest level or below. This is done to teach budding players to using lacrosse sticks properly so that they don’t injure anyone by wild swinging of their sticks.