This is Crucial for Lacrosse Pushing-from-behind Penalty! Best 2023 Guide

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As a lacrosse player, understanding the fundamentals of body checking and pushing-from-behind penalties is essential for success.

Whether you are new to the game or a seasoned veteran, knowing how to execute these techniques properly can make all the difference on the field.

This guide will provide key information about lacrosse pushing from behind penalty to help you become a better player.


Take away key points:

  • The pushing-from-behind penalty occurs when a player shoves his opponent from behind using arms, stick, or hands to get the ball possession
  • The penalty is a minor infraction, so it's considered a technical foul
  • Obey the rules to avoid these penalties, as fouls called upon your team can affect the further development of the game

Below you can find critical points regarding the pushing-from-behind lacrosse penalty. Ensure you read the guide thoroughly to understand each part of the lacrosse rules.

What is a pushing-from-behind penalty in lacrosse?

Pushing-from-behind lacrosse penalties are being given to an offending player shoving an opposing player from behind using their lacrosse stick, arms, or hands.

The lacrosse player commits a penalty while fighting for a ground ball or when a defender loses the position of a ball carrier.

lacrosse pushing rules

Is a pushing-from-behind penalty dangerous?

Physical contact from behind or unsuspecting an opposing player is dangerous and might lead to severe injuries.

When players see the contact coming, they have the time to prepare and brace. This lacrosse serves to protect every ball carrier while in the vulnerable position, compromised.

As the committed penalty has a physical nature, the penalties can be considered situationally dependent and subjective.

But, if an offensive player intentionally turns his back to make contact with a defending player, the opponent-defender will not be called for a push-from-behind rule violation.

When is pushing allowed in lacrosse?

Pushing is allowed in lacrosse from a side or front when a player is in possession of the ball within three to five yards of the loose ball. However, it's never allowed from behind.

When engaging in a legal push, a player must always keep both hands on the lacrosse stick.

How does a player commit a pushing-from-behind penalty?

When a defender uses his hands or forearms to push an opposing player in the back intending to knock the ball carrier down or to disrupt their momentum, the offender will be assigned a pushing-from-behind penalty.

Placing hands on the lacrosse stick is also legal pushing

When a defender approaches a ball carrier from his front or side, and both players are within five yards of a loose ball with their hands firmly on the stick, the pushing is also legal.

But, if the act occurs when a player makes contact with his opponent's back, it's considered a serious offense and even an illegal body check.

Are these lacrosse pushing-from-behind penalties technical or personal fouls?

Pushing-from-behind lacrosse penalties are considered technical fouls rather than personal fouls. Being technical fouls, they are only minor infractions and less serious variations of the rules.

However, due to the fast-paced game standards, sometimes it can be challenging for a referee to differentiate between a push-from-behind or an illegal body check, a personal foul with major consequences.

Examples of pushing-from-behind penalty

lacrosse pushing from behind penalty

Here are some examples of the push-from-behind foul for a better understanding:

- An offensive player with possession of the ball uses his back to protect the ball from a defensive player, and the defensive opponent pushes the possession carrier in the back. The defender will avoid being pushed back away from the lacrosse ball.

- Two players are chasing after a loose ball, and one player interferes with another from the opposing team from behind using his hands.

- A player notices the opponent is trying a legal push on the defensive side from the front or side. He turns his back, and the player impedes the act to draw a foul and a penalty. A foul will not be called in such circumstances.

What will the referee do for a pushing-from-behind penalty?

The NCAA, high school and younger players classify this penalty as a technical foul. Therefore, depending on the scenario, one of the punishments can occur.

If the violation happens when neither of the teams has possession of the ball, the possession is given to the team that is fouled.

But, if an offensive player has possession of the ball and the defender violates the rules, the defender must serve a thirty-second releasable penalty. Thus, his team will play without one player for thirty seconds or until the opponent scores a goal.

How will a referee signal the violation of pushing-from-behind lacrosse rules?

The referee will blow the whistle to stop play if the player pushes the opponent from behind during the loose ball.

He can also throw a flag if the defense commits a penalty while the offense is in the possession of the ball.

To signal the violation of lacrosse rules, the referee will place their left hand flat on their chest and extend the right arm straight forward. Then, they will open their palm and point to the sly with their fingers.

The referees can also specify the player to serve the thirty-second penalty if the defensive player commits the violation or a quick restart on a loose ball.

What happens if a lacrosse player scores a goal during this pushing-from-behind penalty?

If a player scores a goal during a pushing-from-behind penalty, the referee will cancel the goal.

A player cannot score while their team is behind due to an infraction of that nature, as it would be unfair to the opposing team.The referee will caution the player and award an indirect free kick to the defending team from the point where the offense occurred.

Though it might be exciting for fans if a goal was scored during a pushing-from-behind penalty, it's important for fairness across teams that this not be allowed for complete sportsmanship at all times.

Similar penalties to pushing-from-behind

We have listed some of the penalties most similar to the pushing-from-behind on the lacrosse field: unnecessary roughness, illegal cross-check, illegal body-checking.

Unnecessary roughness

Unnecessary roughness is an unsportsmanlike conduct that occurs when a player makes a violent check, deliberate and avoidable.

When offensive players or even a defending player hits others with excessive violence, or unnecessary aggressiveness, these will become personal fouls with stricter consequences.

In addition, the rules are strict for younger players to forbid the development of aggressive behavior further in the play.

Illegal cross-check

Illegal cross-checking refers to an action when players have their hands spread apart on their sticks and use the shaft of the player's stick to push other players instead of using their hands.

Illegal body-checking

Illegal body-checking refers to an act in which players check their opponents from behind. The players check the opponents above the shoulders or below the waist.


In conclusion, the lacrosse pushing from behind penalty is a technical foul with no major consequences for the team. Although it may not result in any points being taken away from the team, it can still affect their performance.

If you are caught pushing from behind, make sure to talk to your coach so they are aware of the situation and can help you avoid future infractions.

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