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Boys Lacrosse Terminology


The last pass that sets up a goal. An assist is given if the goalscorer gets a pass and does not have to beat a defender to score.


Back Up

An out-of-bounds ball resulting from a shot on goal will be awarded to the team whose player is closest to the ball when and where it goes out of bounds. This rule provides either team with the opportunity to gain possession of the ball after a missed shot.



Moving the ball from the defensive end to the offensive end of the field by passing the ball to a teammate or running while cradling the ball. Similar to a basketball team bringing the ball up the court from their opponents basket. Clearing is best done along the sidelines, away from the front of the goal.



A method of moving your wrist in a motion that rocks the ball in your stick. This motion is important to keep the ball in your stick when running or having your stick hit. This is one of the most important basic skills to be learned.



An offensive player without the ball darts around a defender toward the goal in order to receive a “feed pass.” A cutting player is a cutter.



An offensive move of suddenly changing direction in order to avoid an opponent.



Faceoffs occur at the beginning of each game, after each goal and at the start of each quarter/half. Faceoffs involve two opposing center midfielders who meet at the center of the midfield line. Each player gets into a crouch position with their gloves touching the ground and the back of their sticks facing the opposing player. The referee places the ball between the two sticks. The face off begins when the referee blows his whistle.



“Passing with a purpose – to score a goal.” An oensive play in which one player passes the ball to a cutting teammate for a shot on goal.


Man Up (aka Extra Man)

Occurs when the defense has been given a penalty and one defender must leave the field to serve that penalty. Similar to a powerplay in hockey.


Man Down

Describes the team which has lost a player to the penalty box.


Off-Ball Movement

Moving without the ball to create an advantage over the defense. This is done by cutting to get open to receive a pass, creating space for the ball carrier by moving to pull your defender away from the ball or setting an on-ball pick, similar to basketball.



The rule stating that each team must have four players on the defensive half of the field, as well as three players on the offensive half of the field, at all times. It is the number of players who must remain on each side, not the actual position they play.


On-the-Fly Substitution

A manner of substituting in which a team replaces a player on the field while the ball is in-bounds and the clock is running.



An offensive player without the ball positions himself against the body of a defender to allow a teammate to get open and receive a pass or take a shot. Picks must be stationary and ‘passive’.



A penalty or infraction that is noticed by the referee, but, if called immediately, would stop the advancement of the team that was fouled. A flag is thrown and the referee shouts “Play on” and continuation is allowed. At the next loose ball, turnover or score, the whistle is blown and the penalty is assessed. If a goal were scored, it would count and the face-off would ensue with the penalty in force.



One team trying to stop another from clearing the ball out of its defensive zone. Similar to a basketball team applying a full-court press to prevent the opponent from getting the ball down court after a rebound, turnover or basket.



This occurs when an offensive player gets past his defender, forcing another defensive player to “slide” over and pick up the threatening offensive player.


Stick Check

Striking another player with the stick in an attempt to dislodge the ball.


Poke Check

A defender jabs his stick at the exposed stick end or hands of an opposing ball carrier in an effort to jar the ball loose. These checks are very effective in that the checking player stays in balance and keeps a cushion of space between himself and the ball carrier.


Slap Check

The defender uses his stick to slap the stick of the offensive player who has the ball. Poke checks are preferred since it is easier to keep your feet moving and stay balanced during the check.


Unsettled Situation

Any situation in which the defense is not positioned correctly, usually due to a loose ball or broken clear, or fast break. Teams that hustle score many goals during unsettled situations.



Personal Fouls

The penalty for a personal foul is a one to three-minute suspension from play and possession to the team that was fouled. Players must serve the penalty by kneeling on one knee in the Penalty Box. Players with five personal fouls are ejected from the game. The most common personal fouls include:



Occurs when a player’s stick contacts an opponent in any area other than the stick or gloved hand on the stick.



Occurs when a player obstructs his opponent at or below the waist with his stick, hands, arms, feet or legs.



Occurs when a player uses the handle of his stick to make contact with an opponent.


Unsportsmanlike Conduct

Occurs when any player or coach commits an act which is considered unsportsmanlike by an ocial, including taunting, obscene language or gestures, and arguing.


Unnecessary Roughness

Occurs when a player strikes an opponent with his stick or body using excessive or violent force.


Illegal Body Check

Occurs when any of the following actions take place:
1. Body checking of an opponent who is not in possession of the ball or within 5 yards of a loose ball;
2. Avoidable body check of an opponent after he has passed or shot the ball;
3. Body checking of an opponent from the rear or at or below the waist;
4. Body checking of an opponent by a player in which contact is made above the shoulders of the opponent. A body check must be below the neck, and both hands must remain on the stick.


Illegal Stick

Occurs when a player uses a stick that does not conform to required specifications. A stick may be found illegal if the pocket is too deep or if the stick was altered to gain an advantage.


Technical Fouls

The penalty for a technical foul is a thirty-second suspension if a team is in possession of the ball when the foul is committed, or possession of the ball to the team that was fouled if there was no possession when the foul was committed.



Occurs when a player impedes the movement of an opponent or an opponent's stick.



Occurs when a player interferes in any manner with the free movement of an opponent, except when that opponent has possession of the ball, the ball is in flight and within five yards of the players, or both players are within five yards of a loose ball.



Occurs when a team does not have at least four players on its defensive side of the midfield line or at least three players on its offensive side of the midfield line.



Occurs when a player thrusts or shoves a player from behind.



Occurs illegally when an offensive player moves into and makes contact with a defensive player with the purpose of blocking him from the man he is defending.



Occurs when a player in possession of the ball uses his free hand or arm to hold, push or control the direction of an opponent's stick check.