Learn the Game:
girls lacrosse

Basic Rules and Positions

Girl's lacrosse is a game played by 12 players at a time, 11 field players and 1 goalkeeper. The objective of the game is to shoot the ball into the net of the opposing team. Whichever team scores the most goals in the game wins. The game begins with a draw at center field, and a new draw occurs after every goal. The draw is taken by one player from each team, and two other players from each team are allowed to stand between the two restraining lines (usually the 30 yard-lines) for each draw.

During gameplay, field players can either pass or run with the ball in the pocket of their stick. Seven attacking players are allowed over the offensive restraining line, and seven defensive players plus the goalkeeper are allowed over the defensive restraining line. This means there are 4 players from each team that have to remain behind the restraining line at all times. Players can exchange over the restraining line as long as the player switching has both feet over the restraining line before their teammate enters the offensive/defensive ends. Any “checks" (when a player uses their stick to hit another player's stick) are deemed a foul if it is dangerous or towards the body. Other fouls include pushes and dangerous contact. Fouls can be categorized as major, minor, team, goal circle, and misconduct fouls. Fouls that occur within the 8-Meter Arc result in a free- position. Whenever a player fouls on the field, they must go 4 meters behind the player they committed the foul on.

New: Self-start is a relatively new addition to the game of lacrosse. This means that after the whistle is blown, such as when a foul occurs or the ball goes out of bounds, the ball-carrier has to come to a complete stop but then is free to start play again without the ref having to blow the whistle. There is also free movement, meaning that players will not have to hold their positions during stoppages.

The Field

The field is approximately 100 x 70 yards, divided into three parts by the two restraining lines.

The 8-meter arc: an area in front of the goal (there are two, one on each side of the field). Fouls inside the 8-meter result in a free- position. On a free position, everyone has to be outside of the 8- meter arc, even the girl with the ball. A defender cannot stay in the 8- meter for more than three seconds if they are not marking an attacker.

The 12-meter fan: an area in front of the goal, four meters around the 8 meter-arc and 12 meters from the goal circle.

The center circle: a large circle found in the center of the field. The draw is taken in the center of the field inside the circle.

The goal circle/crease: a circle around the goal that only the goalkeeper can enter


A middle school team playing on a full field consists of 4 attack, 3 midfield, 4 defense and 1 goalkeeper.

Visit the USA Lacrosse site for more learning resources.