Lacrosse Penalties

Lacrosse Penalties for Beginners

This page provides information on common lacrosse penalties & fouls. Beginners and intermediate players should know these penalties in order to avoid putting their team at a disadvantage (as penalties often result in loss of the ball and/or in man-down situations). However, please be aware that lacrosse penalties vary between youth, high school and college play. In addition, lacrosse referees tend to be quicker to call penalties with younger players in order to avoid injuries.

Beginner Lacrosse Best Lacrosse Books

Penalties by Age Group – For specific rules regarding lacrosse penalties by age group and for the time length of penalties, please visit the links below:

Common Penalties & Fouls for Beginners

  • Cross Checking – When a player hits an opposing player with the middle of his shaft and the player’s hands are wide apart.
  • Holding – Impeding an opposing player’s movement.
  • Illegal Body Checking – There are numerous variations of this penalty but they focus on illegal body hits (i.e. a player using their body to strike an opposing player’s back). Moreover, all body checks are illegal for younger players.
  • Illegal Screen – This is like a moving pick in basketball.
  • Illegal Sticks & Equipment – Penalties are called with equipment and sticks that do not meet standard specifications. Examples include pockets that are too deep (because it is harder to dislodge a ball from an illegal deep pocket), sticks that are too short (because it is easier to protect the ball in an illegally short stick), etc.
  • Interference – Interfering with the goalie while in the crease or the movement of an opposing player who does not have the ball.
  • Mouthguard Violation – Referees, especially in youth games, call penalties if the player is missing a mouthguard or it is dangling out of their mouth. Mouthguards need to be in a player’s mouth in order to reduce the potential for injury.
  • Offsides – When too many players go over the midfield line (i.e. a defender carries the ball over the midfield line and a middie on the same team does not stay back on the defensive side of the field).
  • Pushing – Pushing can be called with possession (when the player is pushed over when holding the ball) or a lesser penalty is pushing without possession.
  • Slashing – Hitting an opposing player with a lacrosse stick somewhere not on the gloves or stick (i.e. hitting them with a stick on the head or back).
  • Tripping – When a player purposely trips another player (i.e. putting his stick between the legs of the opposing player).
  • Unnecessary Roughness – When a player uses excessive force.
  • Unsportsmanlike Conduct – When a player or coach does something “unsportsmanlike” (i.e. spitting on another player, taunting a losing team, etc.).
  • Warding – When a player moves his arm to block an opposing player’s stick check.

Instructional Video on Lacrosse Youth Penalties