The game

Field lacrosse is the most played version of lacrosse. Other versions of lacrosse are for example box-lacrosse (played indoors without any side lines or end lines, just like ice hockey).

Lacrosse is played with a total of 20 players on the field, 10 players on the field for each team. The players are divided by 4 positions on the field: a goalie, defenders, attackers and midfielders. Changes of the team can be made as often as the coach deems necessary, just like in field hockey, ice hockey and basketball.

A women’s team can consist of a total of 18 players on the game sheet (which means 8 substitute players), for the men this is a maximum of 23 players (and therefore 13 substitute players).


The goal is to win the game by scoring more goals than your opponent during the 80 minutes match (4 times 20 minutes). Lacrosse is played on a field of 110 meters long and 60 meters wide, divided in multiple zones. During the normal play of the game, the field is divided in 2 zones: a defence zone and an attack zone. At the beginning of the game and after every goal, the field contains 3 zones: the defensive and attack zone and a midfield zone.

In red you see the lines of a women’s lacrosse field, in blue you see the lines of a men’s field

These areas are of great importance, since a certain number of players have to be on the attacking and defensive side at all times. When a team has too many players one side of the field, the referee will call them off for of the so-called “offside” rule.

Since the men’s game allows body (and stick) contact, the rules between the men and women are considerably different when it comes to contact. For the men, the rules are quite clear; no contact (‘checks’ with stick or body) is allowed on a player’s head, back or legs. In a women’s game contact and checks are not allowed. However, checks on the head of the stick and some contact in body defence, like we see in for example basketball, are allowed to a certain limit.

There are 3 different sticks allowed on the field:

  • A stick for the goalie (men and women): easily recognisable by its large ‘head’ to stop the shots from entering the goal,
  • A stick for the defence players (men): with a long shaft, to be able to put more pressure on the attackers. These sticks do have the same heads as the other field sticks,
  • A stick for the attack (and midfield) players (men and women): with a short shaft and a standard head, which allows the players to manoeuvre through the defence line while in possession of the ball.


For a more thorough understanding of the game and the rules, we advice you to read through the variety of documentation the FIL has put on their website.