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Lacrosse Penalty: How to Avoid It?

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Lacrosse Penalty: How to Avoid It?

As any exciting sport, a lacrosse game offers a huge number of benefits: the thrill of winning, rewards, well-organized teamwork. However, it also has its downs, for example - a penalty.

Lacrosse games have pretty strict rules, therefore there are many chances to get some sort of penalty, including personal fouls, technical fouls, incorrect possession of the ball, illegal body checking or heading to the wrong side of the field.

However, with the right amount of knowledge, it is possible to reduce the chance of getting a penalty. Therefore, it is important to make sure you are fully informed on every aspect of lacrosse penalties, and avoid making a mistake more than once.

What Is A Penalty?

In the simplest terms, a penalty is an outcome of the player breaking any of the lacrosse rules. A penalised player then spends some time in a penalty box.

There are two main types of fouls: personal and technical.

What Is A Personal Foul?

  • In most cases, a personal foul will result in a 1-minute penalty, though 3-minute timeouts have also been involved.
  • If a player commits five personal fouls over the course of a match, they will be ejected from the game.

What Is A Technical Foul?

  • A technical foul will result in a 30 seconds penalty.
  • In the event that the team did not have possession at the time of the penalty, possession of the ball will be lost.
  • The exact rules will vary between age groups, with professional leagues typical incurring harsher punishments.

What Are Examples of Personal Fouls?

Personal fouls come in a range of shapes and sizes, and some of the most common are explored below.

Cross Checking

Cross checking occurs when a player uses the portion of stick between his hands to check their opponent, gaining possession of the ball.

Illegal Stick

A penalty will be issued if a player's stick is too short - this is generally considered to be less than 40”.

Additionally, a penalty will be accrued if the players pockets are too deep.

Illegal Body Check

Illegal body checking may occur in a number of situations, including those when a player is caught checking an opponent who is not in possession, and who is over five yards from the ball, or if they check the player once the ball has been shot or passed.

In addition, body checking from below the waist, above the shoulders or from behind will all incur a penalty.


Any hard stick check which makes contact with another player using the ball, outside of the gloves or stick.

If the defending player hits the opposing player in the head - this will also result in a slashing penalty.


As the name suggests, a tripping penalty will arise if one player uses their lacrosse stick to trip any player in possession of the ball.

What Are Examples of Technical Fouls?

There are also a number of technical fouls which may occur during the course of a game, and these include:


Holding refers to a move where one player impedes the movement of the opponent's stick, or the opponent themself.


If one player interferes with the free movement of an opposing player who is not currently in possession of the ball, they will receive an interference penalty - this situation may also occur if one player faults to remain totally still when setting a pick.


Any form of pushing or shoving from behind will be considered a penalty and punished accordingly.


If the player in possession of the ball holds or pushes away the opponent using their free hand, this will be counted as warding and dealt with as a penalty.


If one team is seen to be intentionally keeping hold of the ball and retaining possession, without making any attempt to progress the game or head towards the goal, they may be charged with a penalty due to stalling.

This occurs when it appears that the intention of the team is to shave down the time remaining on the clock - this may happen if one team is ahead in a close game, and they are looking to avoid the risk of a loss by reducing the running time.

Lacrosse: The Facts

Knowing the facts about lacrosse, and about penalties, can help to reduce the risk of performing a foul, keeping your team equally balanced, and helping you achieve a victory.

How many fouls to foul out?

Players can have a total of 5 fouls in a match before they will be removed from the game.

How many quarters in lacrosse?

Lacrosse is a game of four quarters, each lasting for 12 minutes, resulting in a total play time of 48 minutes.

How many players on a lacrosse field?

A men's game will include players in 10 lacrosse positions:
  • 3 attackmen
  • 3 defensemen
  • 3 midfielders
  • A goalie
A women's team will have 12 players:
  • 3 attackers
  • 5 midfielders
  • 3 defenders
  • A goalie

What is a loose ball foul?

A loose ball foul is fairly common, and occurs when no one player has possession - in most cases, the game will simply carry on.

If, however, the whistle is blown, the ball is awarded to the offended team. This is more common at the lower and non-professional levels.

Now that you know everything about each lacrosse penalty - you have a chance to avoid it! Make sure you analyze it more carefully, though. Lacrosse game requires a constant focus and attention.

Katherine Holden

Katherine Holden

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