• US Lacrosse is the governing body for all disciples of lacrosse in the United States, including men’s and women’s field lacrosse and indoor (box) lacrosse. World Lacrosse is the international federation responsible for providing governance and leadership for 66 member nations.

  • Over the past 2 decades, lacrosse has been one of the fastest-growing team sports in the country at all levels.

  • Lacrosse is known as a later-specialization sport, where many athletes compete in multiple sports throughout youth and into high school. Even as opportunities to play lacrosse exist year-round, lacrosse athletes are encouraged to play different sports in off-seasons to minimize burnout and prevent injuries.

  • Approximately 830,000 athletes played lacrosse in 2018, a 20% increase since 2011 and a 227% increase since 2001.

  • Despite a plateau in growth rate in recent years, over 50% of all lacrosse athletes are under the age of 16 years; hence, the continued growth of lacrosse is expected.

General Principles

Men’s Lacrosse

  • Men’s lacrosse is a moderate-risk sport where contact is allowed by the body and stick. The object of the game is to shoot the ball into the opponent’s goal.

  • In boys’ lacrosse, stick checks are permitted at the U11 (age 9–10 years), U13 (age 11–12 years), and U15 (age 13–14 years) levels. Body checks are allowed at the U13 and older age groups.

  • Each team has 10 players on the field at once, including one goalkeeper, three defenders, three midfielders, and three attackers.

Women’s Lacrosse

  • Women’s lacrosse is a moderate-risk sport that allows for incidental contact to occur through controlled checking with the stick to another stick to dislodge a ball. Intentional body contact is prohibited.

  • There is a theoretical 7-inch “bubble” around the head that cannot be invaded by the opponent’s stick.

  • The women’s stick pocket is shallower than the men’s stick pocket, allowing easier dislodging of the ball by an opponent and decrease in ball velocity as it is passed or shot on goal.

  • Each team has 12 players on the field at once, including one goalkeeper, four defenders, three midfielders, and four attackers.

  • Protective equipment required in the United States for women’s field lacrosse players includes mouthguards and lacrosse eyewear. Women’s lacrosse helmets are permissible, but not required.

Indoor or Box Lacrosse

  • Indoor lacrosse, also known as box lacrosse, is a collision sport, mostly mirroring the rules of the men’s game. The difference between the field and box games is that box is considered a rougher and more physical play of lacrosse. The game is more contact based and allows stick play not allowed in field lacrosse.

  • The indoor game is played inside a multisport rink on artificial turf or a hard surface floor surrounded by boards (3′6″–4′ high).

  • Each team has six players on the floor at once, including one goalkeeper and five runners.

  • The goal is 4 feet tall, smaller than the 6-foot goal of the outdoor game.

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