Girl's lacrosse is a non-contact game played by 12 players: six attackers, five defenders and a goalkeeper. (First through fourth graders play with 8 players on a shortened field.) The object of the game is to shoot the ball into the opponent's goal. The team scoring the most goals wins.
Below are the modified names and positions for players on a full field. As the game evolves, so do these names. Every coach has a different style and may call these positions different names.
Right and left attack players are considered playmakers and also have the responsibility of transitioning the ball from the defense to the attack. They should be good feeders and able to shoot well from every angle and distance from the goal.
Goal circle attack player is responsible for scoring. She plays closest to the goal and must continually cut toward the goal for a shot or away from the goal to make room for another player. She should have excellent stickwork and must play well while closely guarded.
Right and left attack wings are responsible for transitioning the ball from defense to attack. Wings should have speed and endurance and should be ready to receive the ball from the defense to run or pass the ball.
Center is responsible for controlling the draw and playing both defense and attack. She should have speed and endurance.
Right and left defense are responsible for guarding the area closest to the goal. They should be able to stick check and look to intercept passes. They should be excellent at getting into good defensive position.
Deep defense is responsible for defending players coming over the restraining line towards the goal. She should be able to intercept passes, clear the ball, run fast, and have good footwork.
Right and left defense wings are responsible for marking the attack wings and bringing the ball into the attack area. Wings should have speed and endurance.
Goalkeeper is responsible for protecting the goal. She should have good stickwork, courage, and confidence.
The following is a list of terms you may frequently hear while watching a lacrosse game. Some, you may be familiar with, others, may sound a little odd at first. But all are part of knowing the game of lacrosse.
- Cradle: The act of moving the stick from side to side causing the ball to remain in the upper part of the pocket webbing.
- Checking: The act of using a controlled tap with a crosse on an opponent's crosse in an attempt to dislodge the ball.
- Catching: The act of receiving a passed ball with the crosse.
- Cutting: A movement by a player without the ball in anticipation of a pass.
- Dodging: The act of suddenly shifting direction in order to avoid an opponent.
- Passing: The act of throwing the ball to a teammate with the crosse.
- Pick-Ups: The act of scooping a loose ball with a crosse.
- Shooting: The act of throwing the ball at the goal with the crosse in an attempt to score.
- Clear: Any action taken by a player within the goal circle to pass or carry the ball out of the goal circle.
- Critical Scoring Area: An area 15 meters in front of and to each side of the goal and nine meters behind the goal. An eight-meter arc and 12 meter fan are marked in the area.
- Crosse (Stick): The equipment used to throw, catch, check and carry the ball.
- Checking: Stick to stick contact consisting of a series of controlled taps in an attempt to dislodge the ball from the crosse.
- Deputy: A player who enters the goal circle when the goalie is out of the goal circle and her team is in possession of the ball.
- Draw: A technique to start or resume play by which a ball is placed in between the sticks of two standing players and drawn up and away.
- Eight-Meter Arc: A semi-circular area in front of the goal used for the administration of major fouls. A defender may not remain in this area for more than three seconds unless she is within a stick's length of her opponent.
- Free Position: An opportunity awarded to the offense when a major or minor foul is committed by the defense. All players must move four meters away from the player with the ball. When the whistle sounds to resume play, the player may run, pass or shoot the ball.
- Free Space To Goal: A cone-shaped path extending from each side of the goal circle to the attack player with the ball. A defense player may not, for safety reasons, stand alone in this area without closely marking an opponent.
- Goal Circle: The circle around the goal with a radius of 2.6 meters (8.5 feet). No player's stick or body may “break” the cylinder of the goal circle.
- Grounded: Refers to any part of the goalkeeper's or deputy's body touching the ground for support outside of the goal circle when she attempts to play the ball from inside the goal circle.
- Indirect Free Position: An opportunity awarded to the offense when a minor foul is committed by the defense inside the 12 meter fan. When the whistle sounds to resume play, the player may run or pass, but may not shoot until a defender or one of her teammates has played the ball.
- Marking: Being within a stick's length of an opponent.
- Penalty Lane: The path to the goal that is cleared when a free position is awarded to the attacking team.
- Scoring Play: A continuous effort by the attacking team to move the ball toward the goal and to complete a shot on goal.
- Stand: All players, except the goalkeeper in her goal circle, must remain stationary following the sound of any whistle.
- Sphere: An imaginary area, approximately 18 cm (seven inches) which surrounds a player's head. No stick checks toward the head are allowed to break the sphere.
- 12 Meter Fan: A semi-circle in front of the goal used for the administration of minor fouls.
- Warning Cards: A yellow card presented by an umpire to a player is a warning which requires that she sit out of the game for three minutes without a substitute. A second warning card to the same player automatically becomes a red card and she is prohibited from playing the remainder of the game. If an umpire issues a red card to a player, the player is suspended from further participation in the current and next game. A green card is presented by an umpire to the team captain indicating a team caution for delay of game. See www.uslacrosse.org for other details pertaining to cards.