How to Play Lacrosse

A lacrosse beginner is considered to be anyone who has been playing the sport for less than two years. Some children will advance quicker than others due to athletic ability and the amount of time they practice on their own. Age is also a factor; a fifteen-year-old is likely to advance faster than an eight-year-old. This section is a foundation for the beginning lacrosse player. It is an overview of the basic skills and concepts players need to know, and provides drills and games that foster the growth of these fundamentals.

These are skills that even the best players in the world work on, day in and day out. The thing about lacrosse is, the better you get at it, the more fun it becomes to play. If you can give yourself a strong foundation in all these basic fundamentals, then you will be well on your way to becoming a great player!

10 Important Boys’ Lacrosse Rules

Safety is a big part of coaching lacrosse. The sport involves a lot of contact, so youth coaches must not only stress skill development but also explain lacrosse rules to youngsters to promote safe play.

It’s especially important to coach beginners about the proper way to handle their lacrosse stick.

Following are 10 important rules (in no particular order) to coach to your youth lacrosse players:

  1. Offside. Midfielders can enter any area of the field, but attackmen, defensemen and goalies are confined to their area of the field. To prevent an offside, a team must have four players on each side of the field at all times.
  2. Face-offs. When the official blows his whistle on a face-off, the four players in the wing area (two from each team) that surrounds the two face-off players at midfield can release to get the ball, but the other players must wait until a player has gained possession of the ball or the ball has crossed the goal line.
  3. Body checks. Think of a baseball player’s hitting zone. A boys’ lacrosse player can make only a body check to the front side of an opposing player and between the knees and shoulders. It is illegal to check to the head or back side. Also, if a player is in an unprotected position – say he’s scooping a ground ball – it is illegal to check him.
  4. Slashing and spearing. In boys’ lacrosse, an illegal slash is a stick check to the helmet or back, or a poke check to an opponent’s body other than his gloved hand as he holds the stick. In the bantam division, a one-handed check is considered a slash. A spear – hitting an opponent with the helmet – also is illegal.
  5. Holding. Just as a boys’ lacrosse player cannot hold another player with his hands, he can’t use his stick to hold a player with or without the ball. On ground balls, it is considered holding if a player uses his stick to deny another player the ball.
  6. Unnecessary roughness. This lacrosse rule often is a judgment call of the referee. Basically, a lacrosse player can’t make an excessive check against an opponent. He can’t step into a check from more than five yards or two steps away. Also, he must attempt to slow down if the offensive player has just released the ball.
  7. Offensive interference or screen? An offensive player cannot purposely impede a defensive player’s path with his body or stick. Although this is not a time-serving penalty, the offensive team loses possession of the ball. An offensive player can screen a defender if the two are near the ball, but the screener must have his feet stationary and hold his stick up straight.
  8. Kicking a stick. Obviously, kicking is not allowed in boys’ lacrosse. It also is illegal to kick an opposing player’s lacrosse stick, even inadvertently. This happens when players are tightly bunched and trying to move a ground ball to open space.
  9. Crease violation. Many shots are taken from close range and attackmen cannot step on or within the lacrosse goalie’s crease until the ball goes into the net. This does not pertain to an offensive player being pushed inside the crease by the defense. It’s best to practice footwork around the crease, so attackmen learn to avoid stepping on and into the crease.
  10. Goalie clear. When a lacrosse goalie gains possession of the ball, he has four seconds to clear the ball from his crease or must step outside the crease with the ball.

Games

At the youth beginner level, the most important thing to do as a coach is to keep things light and fun for everyone. There is no reason to turn kids off from the game of lacrosse by being too serious or too demanding. Our philosophy is to try and show beginners that lacrosse is a fun game that gets even more fun as their fundamentals improve.

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Ground Ball Drills

Ground ball drills are easy to vary, and are usually fun and simple for beginners. The first ground ball drill that you can run with your players is very basic. Just have them line up about 10 yards away from you. Slowly roll them the ball have them scoop it up, and throw it back to you.

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Passing Drills

The single most important drill for a lacrosse player at any level is throwing against the wall. This is an extremely important drill for a beginner lacrosse player to utilize on his own time. At the lower levels, the player who gets against a wall for ten to fifteen minutes about 3 or 4 times per week will be the best player on his team.

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Face-Offs

As you gain experience, you'll began to see how having a dominant face-off man can change the course of a game. It can make or break a game. It starts fast breaks and creates scoring opportunities. It also prevents an opposing team from gaining momentum by possessing the ball after EITHER team scores.

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