How to Play Lacrosse: From Beginners to the Pros

Known as "the game of the Gods," lacrosse originated as early as in Native American records.

Nowadays, it's a noble sport that's growing more and more popular because it stimulates both physical and mental health, as well as develops motor skills and shape.

Notably, more and more people in high school have also become lacrosse players. Lacrosse scholarships stimulate a lot of high school students to compete. The professional league is widely attended and followed across the world.

All of this makes you want to become a part of the lacrosse rush!

Undoubtedly, you'll be crushing it if you start playing lacrosse right now, but the question is: Where to start? What do I need to know before I start playing? How to control the ball and score goals?

Don't worry! Today, we'll cover everything related to the matter.

Keep reading to know about how to play Lacrosse!

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Lacrosse 101 - Steps You Need to Take

Okay, so, what ought you do to become a lacrosse player?

For starters, make sure to read these steps, one by one, and then you'll get an idea of where to begin.

how to play lacrosse rules

#1. Learn the Rules

Just like for all sports, knowing the rules of lacrosse for beginners is crucial if you want to start playing. Sometimes, you can learn them on the go as you play, but for lacrosse, it's better to know them before you begin.

Please note that this is the standard. There are some variations for college rules, and if you want to learn how to play women's lacrosse, I'm going to mention a few rules as well.

Basically, there are ten players on the field for each team (three attackers, three middle field players, three defenders, and a goalie).

The purpose is to score goals by carrying, passing, catching, and shooting the ball into the goal by using a stick that has a mesh or net at the end. The team who has scored more goals wins.

The ball is usually white for men, and yellow for women, though there are some exceptions, and nowadays, they are made in many colors.

For a lacrosse ball to be considered good enough for a professional game, it must meet the NOCSAE ball standard. The circumference of the ball is at least 7.75" and less than 8".

Field Lacrosse

how to play lacrosse in college

For field lacrosse, the size of the field is 101 by 55 meters (110 x 60 yards), and the goals are 1.8 by 1.8 meters (6 x 6 ft). The goal sits on each side of the field in a crease that is 5 meters (18 ft) in diameter.

The field is separated into the defensive and attack zone, and the players are positioned accordingly.

The offside occurs when a member of the team violates the rule that there should be three players in the attack zone and four in the defense one at all times. As a consequence, the team loses possession of the ball. If they did not have the ball at the moment when the foul occurred, it results in a technical foul. Other technical fouls include pushing and holding of the ball.

Other violations, which occur more often, are personal fouls (e.g., cross-checking, body check, and alike). Cross-checking is a foul that is punished by a penalty. It is when a player of one team checks a player of another team with hands uncontrollably.

The length of a penalty is a minimum of one minute, and the player who has committed a foul must leave the field. In lacrosse terms, it is said that a penalized team plays "man down," and the opposite "man up."

Another instance when the game is interrupted is when the ball goes out. The possession of the ball is, in this case, awarded to the opponents of the team who touched it last.

The regulation time of the game is 60 minutes. This period is divided into 15-minute quarters that start with a face-off.

The face-off also occurs when a goal is scored in order to continue the game. It is when two players lay their stick down, turned away from the ball. When they hear a whistle, they try to catch the ball more swiftly than their opponent and throw it to their team.


Box Lacrosse

Less popular, but equally exciting, is the so-called box lacrosse sport that is played on a hockey rink covered by artificial grass, or, more rarely, in an indoor soccer field. In each team, there are five players plus a goalie.

This field is smaller than with the field lacrosse, and the goal is also smaller (usually 4 x 4 ft, i.e., 1.2 m).

I'm not going to elaborate much on the fouls here, as they are more or less the same - there are technical and personal fouls, and the penalties are awarded for the most serious ones.

Instead, I think it is essential to focus on the difference in the style of the play. Box lacrosse tends to get a lot more physical, and it's fast-paced in general.

So, you can start asking yourself which playing style suits you better: this one, or the more steady, field lacrosse?


Women's Lacrosse

how to play lacrosse girls

The main difference is that men's lacrosse, both indoor and outdoor, is a contact sport, whereas lacrosse rules for women do not allow body contact, and they play lacrosse outdoors.

To learn how to play girls' lacrosse, one must take into account whether it considers high school, college, or professional lacrosse style.

The standard is that there are twelve players, and they also must abide by the boundaries of the field areas, though the measurements slightly differ from men's field. For instance, the crease is positioned nearer the end line. If it happens that someone else but the goalie steps into the crease, it is known as "a goal-circle violation."

Also, there is no face-off, but the so-called draw, when two players hold their sticks in such a way that the ball is positioned between the two stick heads. When the referee blows the whistle, they try to win possession of the ball.

The length of the game is the same - 60 minutes divided into four periods.

I'd say that it is crucial to remember that there is no physical contact, and there is much less equipment in women's lacrosse.

#2. Choose Your Position

Next, you should decide on your position. Are you a player who likes the strong defensive play, or are you a more offensive player?

Will you guard the crease, keep the ball in the possession, or score the goal?

Keep in mind that the style that worked for you in other sports may not work in lacrosse! It's better to start playing for the sake of the team, start practicing, and then decide on your individual style as a player.

Goalie

The whole team is equally important, but without a good goalie, the game is lost before it has even started.

The goalie, as the last line of defense, keeps the opposing team from scoring a goal (and is hit by a high-speed ball all the time). What is distinctive for a goalie is that s/he has to stand near the goal in the crease, and can come out of the crease only under certain circumstances.

Also, they are the only players that can use hands in addition to the stick to keep the net safe and make saves.

You'd make a good goalie if you:

how to play lacrosse goalie
  • Have an excellent hand-eye coordination
  • Are good at organizing the team (you will need to do this for the defensive part of the field with four players)
  • Are strong (bruises are part of the game when you're a goalkeeper)

Defender

The players who are between the opposing team and the goalie are defenders. They have to cooperate with him, keep an eye on the attackers from the other team, and make sure that there aren't many opportunities for a clean shot on the goal. They use a long lacrosse stick.

For this position, you need:

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  • Excellent cooperative skills (both with the rest of the team and the goalkeeper)
  • To be focused and concentrated on protecting your goal
  • To pass the ball accurately so that you can turn the game from the defense to the attack

Midfielder

Middies are the lacrosse players who are striving to achieve the perfect balance - they are a transition from the attack to the defense and vice versa. As a midfield player, you have to be able to play both, and that's why this is perhaps the most demanding position in the game.

Players who want to be middies need to:

  • Be fast and skilled
  • Be well-rounded players
  • Receive and send a perfect pass to keep the possession of the ball

Attacker

Many players dream of becoming the best-known and popular attacker, but this requires an enormous amount of talent, dedication to the team, and the game. For all sports, it is a long but rewarding journey.

As an attacker, you're the player that can win the game if you set up and score as many goals as possible.

To become a successful attacker, you must:

how to play lacrosse attack
  • Receive a pass flawlessly
  • Practice and master shooting the ball with the stick
  • Become one with the stick (get to know the different angles, how to keep possession of the ball, etc.)

#3. Gear Up!

Now that you know more about the game, the only thing left is to buy the equipment that you need.

I'll briefly introduce the sports gear for lacrosse players that you need.

I'll briefly introduce the sports gear for lacrosse players that you need.

  • Stick - you need a different stick for each position: long stick if you're a defender, a special goalie stick if you're in the crease, etc.
  • Ball - apart from the regular lacrosse ball, there is the so-called "greaseless" ball with an improved grip.
  • Shaft, head, and mesh for the stick - you will change these as you grow as a player.
  • Alternate Arrow Right
    Goal net and rebounder - for the practice.
  • Alternate Arrow Right
    Helmet, gloves, arm pads, elbow pads, shoulder pads, goggles, and mouthpieces - for protection.

The Best Way to Begin With Lacrosse & Hone Your Skills

Lacrosse Course at Players Academy - The Most Comprehensive Lacrosse Course for Serious Players

Now, there is a fact that cannot be denied: at each stage that I mentioned earlier, you're going to face some problems. It's inevitable and nothing to be ashamed of.

My suggestion is seeking professional help to begin (as I did, and many of my acquaintances who are now high-class players).

The all-encompassing professional course that I wholeheartedly recommend is the Lacrosse course at Players Academy, hosted by Rob Panell, one of the best-known lacrosse players in the world.

Is there a better way to learn how to play a game than learn from the legendary player like this 7x MLL All-Star winner, an MVP, national, and All-World performer?

His numerous awards, such as the Tewaaraton Trophy and 3x Ivy League Player-of-the-Year-Trophy, as well as 4x 1st Team All-Ivy League, speak for themselves. And you have the opportunity to learn from him!

I consider this course the best not only because of Rob Pannell but also because it targets precisely all of the stages and problems that may arise along this long journey.

Outstanding Advantages of the Lacrosse Course at Players Academy

In broad strokes, here's how the Lacrosse course at Players Academy solves the above issues, respectively:

#1. It Provides You With Interactive Lacrosse Rules

how to play lacrosse defense

The rules of the game that I tried to explain as clearly as possible in the previous part of this article are certainly a good starting point.

But, it's not the same when I explain it to you in writing and when you hear and see it from the best attacker in the world!

You will receive six interactive lessons that guide you through different notions of lacrosse.

These six expert classes are recorded in the video, and each tackles a particular area of the game. You'll see: it's not the same when you hear about the rules, in theory, and when you see them in the video lessons, let alone when you start practicing them!

Moreover, you'll receive a comprehensive workbook that gives you an overview of the whole course and later serves as a reminder of all the rules and skills you've learned.

In the introduction, you will not learn only the basic rules, but also what is the right way to start developing your work ethics and your mind if you want to become a pro.

Once you complete the course, there will be no rules left unclear, and no questions unanswered!


#2. It Helps You Practice & Perfects Your Skills

how to play lacrosse for beginners

A world-class player shares his lacrosse tips with you?

However impossible this may sound, it is true. In six video classes, divided into units, Rob Pannell will teach you everything about the integral skills, moves, and drills you need in order to hone your skills.

After the introductory lesson, you learn about developing your offhand, backhand, and using both hands to control the ball (which is a technique that has, ultimately, brought him to the top). Through the demonstration of the drills on the video, you'll be able to repeat them yourself.

Do not think that this course is only for attackers because Rob Panell is an offensive player! He also teaches you about defense, how to change the speed and direction of the ball so that you do not lose possession of the ball at any time, and deliver successful passes.

The fourth lesson, "The Island," will tell you about Rob's focus on creating a quality scoring opportunity for the team or himself, with multiple techniques about the control of the ball and movement. This is, again, crucial for both attack and defense!

Strengthening the core of your body is something that cannot go unmentioned when we talk about sports, especially lacrosse and alike. As a bonus, you get a fitness class that focuses on the right set of exercises (with demonstrations) to keep you in shape.

Besides preparing you for the field action and the game, Rob shares his experience and advice on mental training.

Everybody who has at least dabbled into playing sports knows how important it is to keep a sound mental perspective before the game and on a game-day. When you acquire the necessary mental state along with the skills, that's the real deal.

Do you feel like you already have experience in some of these areas, but need to improve others (e.g., you are already going to the gym and have a solid workout routine, but still want to learn about the rules and shots in lacrosse)?

If this is the case, you can obtain a single class (or more than one) that will help you develop a particular area of interest.

Whichever you choose, make sure to pay close observation to the tips and drills and go over them a couple of times. You're learning from the best player in the world - take advantage of that.


#3. You Receive a Discount on Top-notch Lacrosse Gear

As I mentioned, one of the crucial steps in becoming an excellent lacrosse player is owning a quality set of gear. High-quality equipment will not only make you a skilled player but also keep you safe from any potential injuries.

As long as you maintain and carefully choose your gear, you're ready for all the challenges in the game.

That's why you'll be delighted to learn that you get a discount on top-selling lacrosse equipment on laxmonkey.com if you participate in this course. A good stick, protective pads, a quality ball for training... You name it - they have it!

how to play a lacrosse game

Congratulations, You're Ready for the Lacrosse Journey!

I hope that I helped you and that you're even more interested to learn how to play this amazing sport.

After all, "How to play lacrosse?" is a manifold and challenging question, and it wasn't easy to answer it.

I offered you what I could - my knowledge and a few tips I've learned. But honestly, there's much more to it, which is why I shared my honest recommendations for the further steps with you. Professional help is priceless!

Until next time!