Lacrosse Man-up Rules: Best Advantage for Your Team! (2023 Guide)

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Are you looking to give your lacrosse team the edge they need? When it comes to developing players on-field, mastering the man-up situation is a great way to take advantage of extra numbers and maximize scoring chances.

In this blog post, we’ll introduce you to some essential rules that every player should know about playing man-up in lacrosse so that your team has an unbeatable advantage.


Take away key points:

  • Lacrosse man-up rules are advantageous for non-offending players, as they play with one extra player
  • Man-up is similar to man-down strategies but the down refers to defending players
  • The main offender will serve his penalty in the penalty box, and the punishment can be releasable/non-releasable based on how serious the violation is

Lacrosse rules on man-up play for all players

If you want to know more about the man-up play in lacrosse, what the penalty is, and how to use the advantages of the penalty, please read the guide below thoroughly to find answers to your questions.

What is the man-up situation (power play) in lacrosse?

The man-up is also known as a power play or extra man opportunity, where offensive players play with a player more than the opposing team due to a penalty made by the defensive players. The procedure is a penalty for the offending team and the offending player.

Lacrosse is a game played on the lacrosse field with ten players in each team. However, once one player (or more) violates the rules, the result will be a man-up play for the other team. This means that the non-offending team will play with one or more players than the opposing team.

lacrosse man up rules

How many players can serve in the penalty box?

A maximum of three players can serve a non-releasable or releasable penalty time in the penalty box. Then, the first team and the opponent will design new man-up offenses and man-down defenses to use during the power play.

Why do referees call for an extra man opportunity?

Man-up plays are punishments for players committing technical fouls or personal fouls. To commit a technical foul, one player must foul the opponent with the possession of the ball.

The offender will be sent to the penalty box, and the opposing players will create man-up plays.

What is a man-down defense rule?

The man-down defense rule mirrors the man-up play. It's the same advantage/penalty, but if the defense commits a personal foul or technical foul, the team will play with the man-down defense. They will lose a player who will be best to the penalty for a non-releasable or releasable penalty.

In man-down defense strategies, the defense will use various techniques to cover the goal line and prevents shots on the goal from their opponents. A man-down defense often uses a zone to pack players near the crease and goal area.

The players also have to protect the goal line extended and their goalie from a pass and valid shot. But, if a player enters the crease, the shot and goal won't be valid.

What is a penalty box in a man-up play?

The penalty box is an area located within the substitution area outside the sideline in front of the scorer's table. The box works for all penalties, not only man-down/man-up play. Lacrosse players serve their penalty time in the box.

The penalty might be non-releasable or releasable, depending on the severity of the rules the player commits.

What is a releasable penalty?

A releasable penalty is a type of penalty that expires after a team whose player is serving a penalty scores a goal against the other team. The releasable penalty is granted for most equipment or technical fouls.

What is a non-releasable penalty?

A non-releasable penalty is a penalty in both men's lacrosse and women's lacrosse that a player must serve for the full length of the serving time, regardless of whether the teams score goals or not.

Non-resealable penalties are called for personal fouls, unsportsmanlike conduct, illegal stick or body checking, missing spearing calls, mouthguards, and other bigger offense types. Non-releasable penalties vary from one to three minutes, compared to releasable penalties.

What is an extra man offense?

The extra-man offense is an attacking method or formation used when the offensive teams have the extra-man position. Teams can practice and force different offensive drills and offensive plays to attack the defense, and score more shots.

The defense teams often position themselves in the crease zone and within the bounds to prevent the offense is attempting to shoot at the goal. The defense will not mark the individual players from the offense.

In addition, the extra-men offense tactic is a good practice to create a two-on-one scoring position to score the defense zone to fall out of their positions or stretch.

How is the penalty kill beneficial to defense?

A penalty kill is a lacrosse strategy used by the defense when their player is serving the penalty during the play. The main objective of the strategy is to make the defense hold the ball in their possession until the offender is released from the penalty box.

The tactics prevent the offense with a man-up play to slide past the defender and take a valid shot at the goal.

Can defense be in a man-up play?

lacrosse man down rules

Yes, the defense can also be in a man-up advantage, but this is a rare occasion. This means that the offense violated the rule and the defender is in a man-up.

It could happen in a scenario where one player from one team receives a personal foul with less than one minute left. The offense is playing with the man-down for the given time during the play.

However, the team manages to get possession of the ball in less than twenty seconds. The players must attack and force the game to shoot and score the goal to catch up with the opponents. Depending on how much time the offense has left in the game, and how much time the penalty is, the man-down offense is still possible.


What does man up mean in lacrosse?

The man-up in lacrosse means one team plays with an extra player, while the opposing team plays without a player due to the technical or personal the offending player has committed.

How to play man-down defense in lacrosse?

The best drill to practice the man-down defense is the six-versus-five drill (6 vs. 5). The offense will have six players and the defense only five. The short-stick defender will lock off the crease man or the best player in the unit.

The rest of the defensive players will create a box, or a diamond to guard the other five offensive players and prevent the shot at the goalie and goal.

Is body contact allowed in men's lacrosse?

No, body contact is not allowed. You cannot use your hands or other body parts to trap, push or hit another player. You cannot use or stick to stick or body-check the opposing player illegally.


So, there you have it. A man-up and a man-down in lacrosse are the same types of penalty, but they differ based on which team violates the rule.

The main offender will be sent to the penalty box to serve their punishment while the opponent can use the advantage for a turnover.

Freddy Woods

Freddy is the heart and soul of Lacrosse Runner. As a former athlete, Freddy is very passionate about Lacrosse. He keeps up with the sport's changes and innovations and often tests the new equipment released by the leading manufacturers. Read more here