How to Play Girls Lacrosse? Fast-Track Guide to Join the Game

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Are you interested in learning how to play girls lacrosse? This article is designed to provide a quick guide to help newcomers get started in this thrilling sport.

Understanding the basics of girls’ lacrosse will not only help ease the learning curve but also ensure an enjoyable and rewarding experience.

Utilizing a simple, step-by-step approach, this article aims to convey essential knowledge without overwhelming you with information.

After gaining insight into girls’ lacrosse, you’ll have the necessary skills and knowledge to take the field confidently.

Discover the excitement of this popular sport and continue reading to learn more about improving your gameplay.

How to Play Girls Lacrosse? Understand the Basic Rules

You may already understand how to play lacrosse in general and its rules. So, in this section, we will discuss some basic rules of girls’ lacrosse to give you a better understanding of the game.


In girls’ lacrosse, players use minimal equipment: a lacrosse stick, a face mask that covers the eyes and nose (goggles), and a mouthguard.

(Related: What Size Lacrosse Stick For Girls: A Ultimate Guide!)

They wear a skirt that usually ends just above the knees and is made of stretchy or loose fabric, along with spandex shorts beneath their skirts.

How to Play Girls Lacrosse? Understand the Basic Rules

Field Structure:

The field is divided into two halves, with a restraining line on each side. A maximum of seven players from each team are allowed past the restraining line.

Women’s lacrosse is played with five attackers and six defenders.

Here are some important rules to remember:

  1. Draw Control Motion: At the start of play, two opposing players must move the ball with an up-and-away motion.
  2. Offside Rules: Offside rules help maintain a fair and balanced game. Understanding these rules will help you avoid penalties and make better decisions on the field.
  3. Free Movement: Players are allowed free movement on the field when the referee blows the whistle.

To better understand offensive and defensive plays, consider the following points:

  • Offensive Plays: Common offensive plays include a wheel and setting picks. These tactics are designed to create scoring opportunities for the attacking team.
  • Defensive Plays: The most common defensive strategy is a zone with a backer, meaning the defense will always have a free slide. This setup ensures maximum coverage and protection of the goal.

By following these basic rules, you’ll be better equipped to enjoy and participate in the exciting sport of girls’ lacrosse.

Equipment and Gear

Lacrosse Stick

The lacrosse stick is a crucial piece of equipment for playing girls’ lacrosse. It consists of two parts: the head and the shaft. The head is used to catch, cradle, and pass the ball, while the shaft provides a comfortable grip to control the stick.

When choosing a lacrosse stick, consider factors like the material, length, and level of expertise.

Generally, beginners should opt for an affordable yet durable stick, whereas experienced players may invest in a higher-quality stick.

Related: Top 5 Best Girls Lacrosse Stick: Expert Recommendations


Protective Gear

While girls lacrosse involves less contact than the boys’ game, ensuring your safety is still important. The protective gear required includes:

  • Mouthguard: A must-have for every player, the mouthguard helps guard against dental injuries and cushion impacts.
  • Cleats or turf shoes: Soccer cleats offer better traction on grass fields, while turf shoes are apt for artificial turf surfaces. Choose the appropriate footwear based on the playing surface.
  • Goggles: These cover your eyes and nose and protect them from potential injuries, such as being hit by a stick or ball.

Related: Why Don’t Girls Wear Helmets in Lacrosse? Exploring the Safety Debate.

Additionally, girls must wear a skirt (usually ending just above the knees) and spandex shorts beneath the skirt. This ensures comfortable mobility during play.

Goalie Equipment

Goalies have a unique role in lacrosse and therefore need specialized equipment to protect themselves. This includes:

  • Helmet: A well-fitted helmet with a face mask provides protection to the head and face.
  • Throat guard: This attaches to the helmet and covers the neck region to prevent injuries.
  • Chest protector: This padding covers the upper body, providing essential protection to the chest and shoulders.
  • Goalie gloves: With extra padding, these gloves offer optimum protection to the hands.
  • Leg padding: These pads cover the shins and thighs, ensuring the goalie’s legs are well protected from the impact of lacrosse balls.
Girls Lacrosse Goalie

By investing in the right equipment and gear, you’ll not only enhance your performance but also ensure your safety as you enjoy the thrilling game of girls lacrosse.

Field Layout and Positions

Field Dimensions

A women’s lacrosse field is typically 120 yards in length and 60 yards in width. The field is divided into three parts: the attack area, midfield, and defensive area. The field layout consists of the following key boundaries:

  • Goal line: The area where the goal stands
  • Restraining lines: To keep certain players confined within a specified area
  • Midfield line: Divides the field into two halves
  • 12-meter fan: A semi-circle area around the goal that marks the free position area
  • 8-meter arc: Defines the critical scoring area

Understanding the field dimensions is essential to know how to position yourself during the game and move accordingly.

Learn more: Demystifying the Lacrosse Field: Dimensions, Rules, and Strategy

Player Positions

Girls lacrosse is played with 12 players on the field from each team. The various positions on the field can be grouped into three categories:

  1. Attack (4 players)
    • First Home (1A): Primary goal scorer and feeder
    • Second Home (2A): Assists in coordinating offensive plays and scoring
    • Third Home (3A): Facilitates ball movement around the goal
    • Attack Wing (AW): Provides support on offense, transitioning the ball down the field
  2. Midfield (3 players)
    • Center (C): The strongest player on the field responsible for the draw, plays both offense and defense
    • Left Wing (LW) and Right Wing (RW): Versatile players controlling the midfield, offering support to both attack and defense
  3. Defense (5 players)
    • High Defense (HD): Marks the attack wings and pressures the ball
    • Low Defense (LD): Responsible for marking the low attack
    • Goalkeeper (GK): Protects the goal, blocks shots, and clears the ball

As a player, understanding the roles of each position will help you adapt to different game situations and allow you to contribute effectively to your team’s success.

Learn more: Lacrosse Positions: Decoding the Winning Formulas on the Field

Starting the Game

Face-Off Procedures

At the start of every girls lacrosse game, there is a face-off, also known as the draw.

During the draw, a player from each team stands at the center of the field with their lacrosse sticks parallel to the ground and the ball placed between the backs of their mesh pockets.

The referee will signal the start, and both players attempt to gain possession of the ball by retracting their sticks in an up-and-away motion.

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Before the draw, players from both teams will position themselves strategically across the field based on their roles. Here is an overview of player positions:

  • Attackers (5 players): They are responsible for scoring goals and typically stay on the opposing team’s half of the field.
  • Midfielders (3 players): These versatile players move between offense and defense and play all over the field.
  • Defenders (6 players): Their job is to prevent the opposing team from scoring by defending their team’s goal.

Additionally, only seven players from each team are allowed past the restraining line on each end of the field.

Gameplay Commencement

The game begins after the players are positioned and the draw takes place. The team that gains possession of the ball will try to advance it toward the opponent’s goal using a series of passes and movement strategies such as wheel plays or setting picks.

On the defensive side, the team without the ball will employ tactics like zone defense and backing, ensuring they always have a free slide and attempt to regain possession of the ball.

Remember, a standard high school girls lacrosse game consists of two halves of 25 minutes each, with a 10-minute halftime break. In case of a tie at the end of regulation time, there will be two 3-minute overtime periods, followed by sudden victory periods if needed.

Skill Development


Cradling is the fundamental skill that helps you maintain control of the ball while running and dodging opponents.

To develop a proper cradle, hold the lacrosse stick with your dominant hand near the top and your non-dominant hand near the base of the shaft.

Keep the stick perpendicular to your body. Use your wrists to gently rock the stick back and forth, creating a pocket for the ball.

Practice cradling with both hands and switching hands while running.


Passing is essential for team play and advancing the ball on the field. To improve your passing skills, make sure to:

  1. Position your dominant hand about halfway down the shaft and your non-dominant hand towards the bottom.
  2. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and step towards your target when passing.
  3. Use a fluid overhand motion, extending your arms and following through toward your target.

It’s important to practice passing with both hands and different distances and introducing moving targets.


Catching is another crucial skill in lacrosse. When catching the ball:

  1. Position the head of the stick higher than the handle, with your dominant hand at the top of the shaft.
  2. Remain relaxed and keep your eye on the ball.
  3. Soften the ball’s impact by slightly retracting your stick as it arrives.

Practice catching by having someone toss the ball to you from various angles and with different speeds.


Scoring in lacrosse requires precision and power. To develop your shooting skills:

  1. Keep your dominant hand near the top of the shaft and your non-dominant hand towards the bottom.
  2. Square your body to the goal and step towards it, transferring your weight to your front foot.
  3. Use your hips, shoulders, and arms to generate power.

Practice shooting from various positions and angles on the field.

Defensive Skills

Developing defensive skills is vital for preventing the opposing team from scoring. Some key defensive techniques include:

  • Marking: Maintain close to your opponent, using your body and stick to disrupt their movements. Stay between your opponent and the goal.
  • Sliding: When a teammate needs help defending, quickly switch to cover their opponent.
  • Checking: Use your stick to apply pressure on the ball carrier by poking or slapping the stick. Remember that girls’ lacrosse has strict rules regarding checking, so ensure you practice legal techniques.

To enhance your defensive skills, practice marking, sliding, and checking individually, then integrate them into team drills.

Playing Offense


Focusing on quick ball movement and creating opportunities to score is essential when playing offense in girls’ lacrosse.

Since girls’ lacrosse does not involve physical contact like boys’ lacrosse, many offensive plays start with the ball behind the net in the lacrosse stick of a feeder.

The feeder’s job is to get the ball to an attacker cutting towards the goal since the goalie will face the feeder with her back to the attackers.

Remember to keep defenders out of the 8M to make spaces for players to dodge and cut.


Formations are crucial for maintaining proper spacing on the field, which can contribute to a successful offense. One common formation used in girls’ lacrosse is the balanced formation. This formation allows for equal spacing among players on the field and encourages a fluid offense.

  • Attackers: In a balanced formation, attackers should stay on the goal line extended but not behind the cage. They can post up in the middle, providing both scoring options and passing support.
  • Midfielders: Midfielders should maintain a balanced presence on the field, ensuring they are available for passes and can initiate dodges or cuts towards the goal.

Team Plays

Here are some examples of team plays that can be executed in girls’ lacrosse:

  1. Give and Go: In this play, Player A1 passes the ball down to Player A2. After making the pass, A1 cuts toward the cage to receive the ball back from A2. This quick exchange often catches defenders off guard and can result in scoring opportunities.
  2. Four-Point Pick Drill: In this drill, Player A1 sets a pick for Player A4 while holding the ball. As A1 sets the pick, Player A2 passes the ball behind the net to Player A3. This drill emphasizes setting effective picks to create space and opportunities for the offense.
  3. Man-up/Man-down Offense: In a man-up situation, the offense should focus on balanced spacing and quick ball movement. Limit off-ball movement and allow attackers to post up in the middle. In a man-down situation, remaining balanced and keeping the ball active are crucial to maintaining offensive pressure.

By incorporating these strategies, formations, and team plays, you can improve your offensive skills in girls’ lacrosse.

Playing Defense

Defensive Strategies

In defense, your main goal is to protect your goal while making it difficult for the attackers to score. There are a few strategies that can help you succeed in this role:

  1. Force attacker to their weak side: Keep the attacker on their non-dominant side to make their shots and passes less accurate.
  2. Help defense: Always be prepared to slide or double-team an opponent if your teammate is beaten.
  3. Communication: Constantly communicate positioning, opponents, and potential threats with your teammates.


When marking a player, maintain a proper defensive stance with these key components:

  • Stand in an athletic position, slightly crouched with knees bent and feet shoulder-width apart.
  • At shoulder height, keep your stick away from your body to challenge your opponent’s passes and shots.
  • Stay on the balls of your feet, ready to move quickly in response to your opponent’s movements.

In addition to these fundamentals, be sure to:

  1. Anticipate: Watch the attacker’s movements and try to predict their next move, allowing you to react quickly.
  2. Maintain a cushion: Keep a distance of about one stick’s length between you and the attacker to give you space to react and defend.

Forced Turnovers

Forcing turnovers is essential for helping your team regain possession. Here are some techniques for achieving this:

  • Doubles: When an opponent is trapped against the sideline or end line, work with a teammate to apply pressure and force a mistake.
  • Back checks: If the attacker is cradling the ball with one hand while running, use a swift check to dislodge the ball from their stick.
  • Ground balls: When the ball is on the ground, get low and scoop it up with two hands, protecting your stick from opposing defenders.

Remember to stay disciplined in your defensive positioning, communicate effectively with your teammates, and be prepared to adapt to the changing dynamics of the game. By mastering these defensive techniques, you can significantly hinder the attacking capabilities of your opponents and help your team achieve success on the field.

Specialty Situations

In this section, we’ll discuss two specialty situations in girls lacrosse: Free Position Shots and Penalty Administration. These situations can have a significant impact on the outcome of the game, so it’s essential to understand the rules and strategies associated with them.

Free Position Shots

In girls lacrosse, a free position shot is awarded to a player when an opponent commits a major foul within the 8-meter area around the goal. The shot is taken from the appropriate hash mark on the 8-meter arc, closest to where the foul occurred. To execute a successful free position shot, consider the following tips:

  • Quickly assess your options. You might have an open teammate for a quick pass or may need to dodge an approaching defender.
  • Stay balanced with your dominant foot forward and the other foot slightly behind for stability.
  • Aim strategically. Targeting the corners of the goal increases your chances of scoring, as it is more challenging for the goalie to defend.
  • Follow through on your shot by maintaining the momentum of your swing and directing your stick towards your target.

Penalty Administration

Penalties in girls lacrosse are divided into two categories: major fouls and minor fouls.

  • Major fouls result in the offensive player being awarded a free position shot and include:
    1. Checking the opponent’s stick dangerously
    2. Blocking or body checks
    3. Dangerous plays like slashing, tripping, or holding
    4. Shooting space violations
    5. Three-second rule violations
  • Minor fouls are less severe and generally result in a change of possession or an indirect free position. They include:
    1. Warding off or creating space with your arm
    2. Covering the ball with your body or stick
    3. Empty stick checks
    4. Stepping on or over the boundary lines

When a penalty occurs, the referee will blow the whistle and administer the appropriate penalty based on the type and severity of the foul. Players must be aware of the rules to avoid committing fouls and understand how to take advantage of the opportunities created when an opponent commits a foul.

Remember, understanding and mastering these specialty situations can make a significant difference in your success on the lacrosse field. Keep practicing and applying these strategies to make the most out of every game situation.

Game Conduct

Fouls and Penalties

In girls’ lacrosse, it is crucial for you to understand the different types of fouls and penalties that may be imposed during the game. There are two primary categories of fouls: major and minor fouls.

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Major Fouls

  • Slashing: Striking an opponent with your crosse in a dangerous or uncontrolled manner.
  • Blocking: Using your body to obstruct your opponent’s movement.
  • Dangerous Propelling: Propelling the ball in a forceful or dangerous manner.
  • Illegal Contact: Initiating contact with an opponent in a way that is not considered legal in girls’ lacrosse.

Minor Fouls

  • Warding Off: Using your arm to shield the ball from an opponent.
  • Dangerous Follow-Through: Following through on a shot or pass in a way that endangers your opponent.

If you commit a major or minor foul, you may be penalized with a free position for the opponent or even a penalty card in more severe cases.


Good sportsmanship is an essential component of girls’ lacrosse. You and your teammates should always demonstrate respect towards your opponents, officials, and spectators. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:

  1. Respect the Game: Play in the spirit of the game, adhere to the rules, and avoid using unfair tactics.
  2. Respect Officials: Accept the decisions made by the officials without arguing or showing displeasure.
  3. Respect Opponents: Show courtesy and respect towards your opponents both on and off the field.
  4. Respect Teammates: Be supportive, encourage one another, and keep a positive attitude during games.

By following these sportsmanship guidelines, you can contribute to a positive experience for everyone involved in the game of girls’ lacrosse.

This article will also help you out for starting the game quickly: WOMEN’S LACROSSE 101.

Frequently Asked Questions

What equipment is required to start playing girls’ lacrosse?

To start playing girls’ lacrosse, you will need a lacrosse stick, goggles, and a mouthguard. Cleats and gloves are recommended but not required. Additionally, you should wear comfortable athletic clothing suited to the weather conditions.

What are the key differences between girls’ and boys’ lacrosse?

The primary differences between girls’ and boys’ lacrosse involve rules, equipment, and contact levels. Girls’ lacrosse has less contact and emphasizes stick skills, strategy, and finesse. Boys’ lacrosse allows more contact, requires helmets and padding, and focuses on physicality in conjunction with skill.

Can you explain the basic rules of girls’ lacrosse?

Girls’ lacrosse is played with two teams, each consisting of 12 players on the field. The aim is to score goals by shooting the ball into the opposing team’s net. Players can only use their lacrosse stick to pass, catch, and shoot the ball. The game begins with a draw, where two players from opposing teams stand at the center, and the rest of the players align themselves accordingly. Offsides and other restrictions ensure balance in the game, and there is a 2-meter barrier for fair play.

How do positioning and roles vary in girls’ lacrosse?

In girls’ lacrosse, each team has five attackers, six defenders, and one goalie. Only seven players from each team can be past the restraining line on each end of the field. This system ensures that there are always players available for offensive and defensive situations.

What are some strategies for improving skills in girls’ lacrosse?

Improving your skills in girls’ lacrosse involves consistent practice and mastering the fundamental techniques. Focus on honing skills such as passing, catching, cradling, and shooting. Additionally, working on agility, speed, and endurance will contribute to your overall performance on the field.

How is a pick set and used within girls’ lacrosse gameplay?

A pick is a strategic move in girls’ lacrosse, where a player sets a screen for a teammate to create space and open up offensive opportunities. To set a pick, stand with your back to the defender, positioning your feet shoulder-width apart and keeping your arms close to your body. This allows the player with the ball to run closely past you, forcing the defender to change their path momentarily and creating opportunities for a shot or pass.

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