Penalties & Fouls

Updated Thursday April 9, 2015 by Lovejoy Leopards Lacrosse.


There are two different kinds of fouls in lacrosse: Personal and technical. Fouls and infractions are enforced by removal of the offending player from the field of play, and/or awarding possession to the opposing team.

A personal foul generally involves an infraction that has a malicious intent, such as slashing or unnecessary roughness. Personal fouls are punishable by penalties of one to three minutes in length. These fouls give the fouled team a “man-up” situation, where it has an extra player on the field, as well as possession of the ball at the beginning of the penalty.

Most penalties allow the offending player to be released from the penalty box if the opposing team scores a goal before the penalty time has expired. However, some personal fouls carry an “non-releasable” penalty, where the offending player must serve the entirety of his penalty in the box, regardless of how many goals are scored.

Technical fouls by definition are fouls of a less serious nature and usually involve a moving or time violation, like an illegal screen, off-sides, or interference. They result in a 30-second penalty if the fouling team does not have possession of the ball at the time of the foul. If there was no possession or the fouling team had the ball when the foul was committed, then the ball is awarded to the team that was fouled.


Personal Fouls

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

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

Cross Checking: Occurs when a player uses the handle of his crosse between his hands to make contact with an opponent.

Unsportsmanlike Conduct: Occurs when any player or coach commits an act which is considered unsportsmanlike by an official, including taunting, arguing, or obscene language or gestures.

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

Illegal Crosse: Occurs when a player uses a crosse that does not conform to required specifications. A crosse may be found illegal if the pocket is too deep or if any other part of the crosse was altered to gain an advantage.

Illegal Body Checking: Occurs when any of the following actions takes place: (a) body checking an opponent who is not in possession of the ball or within five yards (or three yard at the youth level) of a loose ball; (b) avoidable body check of an opponent after he has passed or shot the ball; (c) body checking an opponent from the rear or at or below the waist; and (d) body checking an opponent above the shoulders. A body check must be below the shoulders and above the waist, and both hands of the player applying the body check must remain in contact with his crosse.

Illegal Gloves: Occurs when a player uses gloves that do not conform to required specifications. A glove will be found illegal if the fingers and palms are cut out of the gloves, or if the glove has been altered in a way that compromises its protective features.


Technical Fouls

Holding: Occurs when a player impedes the movement of an opponent or an opponent’s crosse.

Interference: 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 player, or both players are within five yards of a loose ball.

Off-sides: 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.

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

Screening: Occurs 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.

Stalling: Occurs when a team intentionally holds the ball, without conducting normal offensive play, with the intent of running time off the clock.

Warding Off: 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.