Can You Kick the Ball in Lacrosse? Learn more to Master the Rules

In lacrosse, you might find yourself in a situation where using your stick to maneuver the ball isn’t the most effective option. A common question: “Can You Kick the Ball in Lacrosse?“. The answer is “Yes“.

The lacrosse rules for both men’s and women’s games indeed permit kicking the ball. This can be a legal and strategic way to move the ball on the field, score a goal, or prevent a goal in certain defensive scenarios.

Understanding ball-handling rules is critical to playing the game correctly and strategically. You can kick the ball to advance it toward the opponent’s goal, to clear it from your defensive zone, or to keep it in play during a scrum.

If a defensive player inadvertently kicks the ball into their own goal, it is counted as a goal for the opposing team.

The Game of Lacrosse

The sport of Lacrosse combines the precision of ball control with the strategic positioning of players. Understanding the rules and roles is essential for appreciating the game’s depth.

Understand Lacrosse Rules

Objectives and Basic Rules

In Lacrosse, you aim to score goals by shooting a ball into the opponent’s net using a stick with a netted pocket at the end. To move the ball across the field, you pass it with your stick or cradle it to maintain possession while avoiding defensive pressure.

  • Ball Movement: While the primary method is to use the stick, you can kick the ball to move it or even to score.
  • Scoring: You can legally score by kicking the ball in both men’s and women’s lacrosse games.

Position Roles and Responsibilities

Every position on the lacrosse field holds distinct responsibilities that contribute to the team’s performance:

  • Attack: Your primary role is to score goals and create offensive opportunities.
  • Midfield: You need to be versatile, contributing to both offense and defense, and often control the play transition.
  • Defense: Your task is to prevent the opposing team from scoring, which includes blocking shots and intercepting passes using your stick (and as noted, occasionally with kicks).
  • Goalie: As the last line of defense, you’re responsible for saving shots on goal and directing the defense.

Ball Handling in Lacrosse

In lacrosse, adept ball handling is essential for game success. It involves precise stick skills, advanced cradling mechanics, and accurate passing techniques.

Stick Skills

Lacrosse Stick Skills

Your stick is an extension of your body in lacrosse. Proper handling is pivotal for control during play. It requires a firm grip and flexibility in wrist motion to maneuver the stick effectively. As a player, you should practice different stick-handling moves like quick-stick passingcatching, and shooting to become proficient.

Cradling Mechanics

Cradling is the technique that allows you to maintain possession of the ball when moving around the field. Proper cradling involves a rocking motion with the stick, ensuring the ball stays in the pocket while you dodge and sprint. This skill requires syncing your arm and wrist movements, much like a pendulum, to secure the ball during rapid direction changes.

Passing Techniques

Accurate passing is critical in lacrosse for effective team play. Your ability to pass the ball quickly and accurately to a teammate can determine the pace and success of the game. Work on mastering both long and short passes. The basic technique involves a push-pull motion—pushing with your dominant hand while pulling with your off-hand to generate velocity and direction for the ball.

Rules of Lacrosse

In lacrosse, specific actions are deemed legal, while others will incur fouls and penalties that can affect the flow and outcome of the game.

Legal and Illegal Actions

  • Legal Actions:
    • You may pass, catch, or shoot the ball using the lacrosse stick.
    • Body checking is allowed within certain guidelines.
    • Kicking the ball is permissible as a method to move it or score a goal.
  • Illegal Actions:
    • Using your hands to touch the ball during play.
    • Warding off an opponent with your free hand while carrying the stick.

Fouls and Penalties

Type of FoulDescriptionPenalty
Personal FoulsInvolve violent contact, like slashing or illegal checks.Time-serving penalties, varying in length.
Technical FoulsInclude offside, holding, and interference.Loss of possession or 30-second penalty.

By understanding these rules, you can better appreciate the game’s nuances and recognize the implications of players’ actions during play.

Ball Kicking in Lacrosse

In lacrosse, you can legally kick the ball, providing strategic gameplay advantages. This section explains when and how you can kick the lacrosse ball, along with specific rules for different levels of play.

Ball Kicking in Lacrosse

Situations Permitting Kicking

You can kick the lacrosse ball in both offense and defense to advance play or score a goal. If you kick the ball unintentionally or in a scramble for possession, it’s still considered legal play.

Restrictions and Limitations

Kicking must be done without the aid of your hands, and you cannot kick an opponent’s stick or any part of their body. Accidental kicks leading to a goal in a player’s own goal also count as a goal for the opposing team.

Can You Kick The Ball in Lacrosse Youth

In youth lacrosse, for boys and girls, kicking the ball is permitted. It’s essential to check with specific league rules as regulations can vary by region and age group.

Related: Girls Lacrosse Rules: Essential Guide for Quick Play

Can You Kick The Ball in Women’s Lacrosse

Kicking the ball is allowed in women’s lacrosse from the U12 level upward. It serves as a versatile move to maintain possession or to surprise the opposing team.

Related Article: What is a Lacrosse Ball Made Of? Revealing the Materials & Composition

Strategies Involving Ball Kicking

In lacrosse, strategic ball kicking can advance play and disrupt the opposing team’s formation. This section will discuss how you might leverage kicking in both offensive and defensive situations.

Offensive Strategies

When you’re on the offense, kicking the ball can be particularly advantageous in creating scoring opportunities. Key offensive strategies include:

  • Redirecting the Ball: Using a kick to change the ball’s direction can help you maneuver it into open space, away from defenders, which can set up shots on goal or help maintain possession.
  • Facilitating Ground Ball Pickup: If the ball is in a scrum or a heavily contested area, a well-placed kick can move it to a location where your teammates have the advantage to scoop it up.

Defensive Tactics

On defense, your use of kicking the ball should be tactical and help regain control:

  • Interrupting Offensive Play: If an opponent’s pass lands on the ground, a quick kick can prevent their players from regaining possession and give your team a chance to scoop the ball.
  • Clearing the Ball: In tight situations near your goal, a defensive kick can serve as an emergency measure to clear the ball from the defensive zone, minimizing scoring threats.

Remember, kicking the ball is permitted at all levels in men’s lacrosse. However, women’s lacrosse only allows it at levels above U12. Use this knowledge to inform your tactics on the field.

Skills Development

Refining your ball control and footwork in lacrosse is essential to achieving high proficiency in handling the ball under various game conditions.

Drills for Ball Control

To enhance your ball control, you should engage in drills that simulate real-game scenarios:

  • Ground Ball Scoop and Kick Drill Begin by rolling the ball on the ground towards yourself. As you approach the ball, practice scooping with your stick and then immediately kicking the ball while keeping it in your vicinity.
  • Target Kick Accuracy Drill Set up several targets around the goal area. Work on kicking the ball directly at these targets from different angles and distances, focusing on control and precision.

Improving Footwork

Effective footwork lays the foundation for superior ball control and kicking accuracy:

  • Ladder Drills Utilize an agility ladder to perform various footwork patterns. Quick hops, lateral shuffles, and in-and-out steps are excellent for improving agility and coordination.
  • Cone Drills Arrange cones in a zig-zag formation. Practicing dribbling the ball through the cones with intermittent kicks will develop your footwork, balance, and the ability to kick the ball while on the move.

Back to How to Play Lacrosse: A Professional Guide for Beginners to learn more.

Historical Context of Ball Kicking in Lacrosse

Historical Context of Ball Kicking in Lacrosse

In the origins of lacrosse, Native American tribes played the game with deeply spiritual and communal significance. The original rules were not documented as rigorously as the modern game, and variations existed between tribes. It is uncertain how kicking the ball was treated in these early forms of the sport.

As lacrosse evolved, formalization of the rules began in the 19th century, with the first games resembling today’s version played in Canada in 1856. The rules of ball handling were designed to highlight skill with the stick.

Kicking the ball intentionally was not part of the early codified rules. This framework aimed to maintain the integrity and the skill-based nature of the game. Traditional handling of the lacrosse ball required dexterity with the crosse (stick), a fundamental aspect distinguishing lacrosse from other sports.

Modern rulebooks can vary, but generally, they allow for kicking the ball in certain circumstances. For example, the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) acknowledges the legality of this action under specific conditions. Your understanding of the current game must include the recognition that incidental or strategic kicking is part of the play.

Here’s a brief overview in a tabular format of the allowance of ball kicking in lacrosse:

PeriodBall Kicking Rules
Early FormsUndocumented, tribe-specific
19th Century CodificationNot formally allowed, emphasizing stick skills
Contemporary RulesPermitted under certain conditions

It is essential to note that rules can differ between men’s and women’s lacrosse, as well as among various leagues and age groups. Always refer to the latest rulebook relevant to your lacrosse association to ensure compliance with the current standards.

Comparative Analysis with Other Sports

When you examine the rules of Lacrosse in the context of other sports, it’s interesting to see where kicking the ball is allowed and where it is not. In soccer, for instance, kicking is the primary method of ball manipulation and scoring. Similarly, in Rugby, you can kick the ball for strategic plays such as drop goals, punts, and conversions.

Your ability to kick the ball is somewhat more constrained in lacrosse than in other sports. You can kick a loose ball to move it or get it out of a congested situation, but it is not a central aspect of gameplay.

Unlike soccer, where the foot is the main tool, or Rugby, where kicking is a tactical choice, in Lacrosse, kicking is a situational action.

Here’s a simple comparison with other sports:

SportKicking Ball (Allowed/Primary Action)Context in Game
SoccerYes (Primary Action)Main form of ball movement and scoring.
RugbyYes (Strategic Action)Can kick for field position, scoring, and strategic advantage.
LacrosseYes (Situational)To move a loose ball or escape traffic; less central to gameplay.
BasketballNoKicking the ball is a violation.
VolleyballNo (With Exceptions)Kicks are generally not allowed unless it’s an unintentional play. You can learn more here.

In terms of rules for ball contact, sports like Basketball and Volleyball strictly prohibit or limit kicking, treating it as a violation. You should be aware that while you can use your feet in Lacrosse for certain plays, sports like these maintain a more stringent set of guidelines that disallow or restrain such actions.


In the realm of lacrosse, the rules surrounding ball contact are precise. Your understanding of these regulations can influence the strategy and flow of the game. To reiterate, in men’s lacrosse, you are permitted to kick the ball.

This action is deemed legal across all levels of play, from youth leagues to professional contests. In contrast, for women’s lacrosse, legality comes with age-specific rules. Notably, kicking the ball is not legal in girls’ lacrosse until reaching the U12 level and above.

Key Points to Remember:

  • Men’s Lacrosse: Kicking is legal at all levels.
  • Women’s Lacrosse: Kicking is legal only at U12 and above.

Using feet to maneuver the ball strategically can provide advantageous opportunities on the field. Your knowledge of this rule enables adapting in-game strategies to catch opponents unprepared and to secure possession during contentious moments.

In your lacrosse endeavors, whether attending a game or participating, the clarity around this rule aids in appreciating the sport’s complexity. As you advance in your lacrosse journey, remember that at its core, lacrosse is a game governed by rules that respect the skill and integrity of its players.

When contemplating the question of “Can you kick the ball in lacrosse,” know that your ability to do so is governed by the gender-specific regulations intended to maintain the unique character of each game.

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