Key terms for Lacrosse and field markings


FREE POSITION The team who committed the foul is moved four meters away from the fouled player and the fouled player is given possession of the ball. Play resumes on the referee’s signal (whistle blown and hand gesture), at which point the player may run, pass, or shoot. The position of the player who committed the fouls differs for “minor” and “major” fouls.

MINOR & MAJOR FOULS :the defender is moved four meters away in the direction from which she approached the player; for major fouls, the defender is placed four meters behind the fouled player.

Minor fouls include cradling the ball too close to the body and face, touching the ball with a hand, and intentionally forcing the ball out of bounds.

 Major fouls include violating an opponent’s sphereslashing,blockingthree-second violation, illegally picking, pushing, tripping, charging, and dangerous shooting. For severe rules violations, such as dangerous play or unsportsmanlike conduct, a player receives a yellow or red card.

A yellow card is a warning; a red card results in the ejection of the player from the game.

Fouls have special circumstances when they are committed close to the goal

For major fouls committed within the critical scoring area, the player is granted free position and a penalty lane is cleared between the player and the goal. If the offensive player was on a scoring play when this type of foul occurs, a slow whistle is issued and play continues, in order to allow the offense to maintain its advantage. If the team loses possession of the ball, the penalty is enforced at the spot of the foul; if the team shoots the ball or takes it beyond the plane of the goal during the scoring play, the foul is void and play continues.

For major fouls committed within the 8-meter arc, all defenders are cleared from the arc and the player gets a free shot from the closest hash mark on the eight meter arc.

For minor fouls committed within the 12-meter fan, the fouled player is moved to the nearest spot on the fan and is granted an indirect free position.


Fast Break - An offensive team speedily runs the ball up field on an attack to gain a player advantage over the defense.

Feed Pass - Used by the offense when they are near the opposing goal. One player passes the ball to a cutting teammate who then takes a shot on goal.

Ground Balls - Describes the ball loose on the ground. Players will position their bodies in front of opposing players to block them from scooping up the ball. Beginners Guide to Girls Lacrosse

Man-to-man - A defensive setup in which each defending player guards a specific offensive opponent.

Marking - The play of a defender who uses her stick and body to closely guard and follow an opposing offensive player.

Pick-up - The manner in which a player picks up a loose ground ball. She crouches toward the ground, slides the pocket of her stick underneath the ball, and lifts it into the netting of her stick.

Shooting Space Violation - When a defender is more than a sticks length away from an opponent while inside the critical scoring area in front of her own goal. Thereby obstructing incoming shots.

Slashing - A major foul against any player who recklessly stick checks an opponent using a dangerous, sweeping stroke.

Stop Play - When a foul occurs or the ball goes out of play, the umpire blows a whistle to stop the action of the game. To restart play or redirect a player, a throw or free position is taken. If play stops as a result of an injury, the ball is given to either the player who held the ball last or who was closest to it before the whistle blew. The official game clock continues to run whenever play has stopped - except during injury time-outs or every time the whistle sounds during the last two minutes of each half.

Zone Defence - Defenders cover specific areas of their defensive zone as opposed to man-to-man coverage.

Blocking: Moving into path of a player without providing space for the player to stop or change direction.

Charging: Player with the ball comes into contact with a defender who has already established position.

Checking: Hitting the opponent’s crosse to dislodge the ball.

Clearing: Passing or carrying the ball out of the goal circle.

Cradling: Running with the stick in either one or both hands in a manner that keeps the ball in the pocket.

Cutting: Attacker runs toward the goal looking to get open to receive a pass.

Deputy: A defender who can enter the goal circle in the absence of the goalie when her team has the ball.

Draw: A technique to start or resume play in which a ball is placed inbetween the sticks of two opposing players, a whistle is blown, the sticks are drawn up and away, and the ball is sent above the heads of the player before one of the players takes possession of it.

Fast break: An opportunity to score in transition to offense with at least a one-man advantage.

Free position: After a foul, all players must be at least four meters away from the player who was fouled. The attacker may run, pass, or shoot the ball after the whistle is blown to resume play.

Free shot: Penalty awarded from a hash mark on the 8-meter line when a major foul is committed within the 8-meter arc. All players, except the goalie, must move outside the arc. When the umpire blows the whistle, the player can take a shot on goal or pass while the defense moves in.

Free space to goal: Inside the critical scoring area, defenders must stay out of the space between the player with the ball and the goal circle, unless they closely mark an opponent.

Indirect free position: Following a minor foul within the 12-meter fan, play resumes from the 12-meter fan and the player may run or pass, but cannot shoot.

Marking: Defender is within a stick's length of an opponent.

On the fly: Substituting during play. When one player exits the field through the team substitution area, another can enter.

Penalty lane: The path that is cleared between the player with the ball and the goal when a free position is awarded to the attacking team inside the critical scoring area.

Pick: Offensive player impedes opponent’s ability to defend a teammate. Must be within the visual field of the opponent.

Scoop: Picking up a ground ball in the crosse pocket.

Scoring play: A single possession of the ball in which the offense moves the ball in an effort to score.

Slashing: Recklessly swinging the crosse at an opponent’s stick or body.

Slow whistle: Permitting play to continue during a penalty inside the critical scoring area on a scoring play to allow an offense to maintain its advantage.

Stand: All players, except the goalkeeper in her goal circle, must remain stationary following the sound of any whistle.

Sphere: An imaginary bubble, about seven inches around the head of a player, that an opponent’s crosse cannot enter to ensure safety.

Three-second rule: Defensemen may not remain in the arc for more than three seconds without guarding another player.



rebecca moloney