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Parent's Guide to the Sport of Lacrosse

Common Referee Signals


Everything you need to know about lacrosse 

Beginner Lacrosse

Glossary of Words You May Hear in the Stands from the Field

Body Check: Contact from the front that is permitted between the shoulders and waist when an opponent has possession or is within five yards of a loose ball.

Clamp: Quickly covering the ball with the backside of the head of the stick during a face-off.


Clearing: Transferring the ball from the defensive half of the field across the midfield line.

Cradle: Running with the stick in either one or both hands in a manner that keeps the ball in the pocket.


Cutting/Cutter: When an attacker runs toward the goal to receive a pass and take a clear shot.

Face-off: A player from each team stands face-to-face with their sticks on the ground along the centerline. The official places the ball between the two stick heads and blows the whistle. The two players then attempt to gain control of the ball using their sticks. Typical face-off moves include the clamp and rake. If a penalty is called before or during a face-off, possession goes to the opposing team.

Fake: To make a throwing motion with the stick just before shooting it to deceive the goalie.

Fast Break: When the offense exploits an unsettled defense with a quick transition downfield. Many goals are scored this way.

Feed: Passing the ball to a player to create a scoring opportunity.


Ground Ball: A loose ball that is on the ground. Players scoop the ball with the stick to pick it up.


Illegal Body Check: A late hit, or contact from behind, above the shoulders, or below the waist.


Interference: Limiting the free movement of an opponent who does not have possession of the ball and is not within five yards of a loose ball.

Isolation: Offensive players clear out of the way to allow an opening for a teammate to drive towards the goal with the ball.


Loose Ball: Ball not controlled by a player (e.g. on the ground or in the air).


Man-Down: When the defense is at a disadvantage due to a penalty. Also called penalty kill.


Man-to-Man Defense: Each player guards one specific player. Each defenseman matches up with an attacker, and each midfielder matches up with an opposing midfielder.


Man-Up: When the offense has an advantage following a penalty. Also called a power play.


Offsides: Violation called when a team has fewer than four players on its defensive side of the field, or fewer than three players on its attacking side.

On-the-Fly: Substituting during play. When one player exits the field through the penalty box, another can enter.

Pick: Attackers or middies stand in a position to block the path of a teammate’s defender to create space for the teammate to receive a pass.

Pushing: Illegal shoving of an opponent from behind.


Rake: Face-off move in which a player sweeps the ball to the side for a teammate to pick up.


Release: When a penalized player re-enters the game.

Riding: Attempting to prevent a team from clearing the ball.


Scoop: Picking up a ground ball in the crosse pocket.


Screen: Offensive player stands outside the crease in front of the goalie to block the goalie’s view.

Slashing: Illegal stick check to the body of a player that results in a personal foul.


Slow Whistle: Permitting play to continue during a penalty until the offense loses possession of the ball to allow an offense to maintain its advantage.

Stalling: Intentionally holding the ball without advancing toward the goal.


Stick Check: Defenders attempt to dislodge the ball from an opponent’s stick by executing a poke check or a slap check.


Tripping: Impeding an opponent at or below the waist and causing him to fall.


Unnecessary Roughness: Excessively violent and usually calculated contact to the opposition.


Unsportsmanlike Conduct: Physical or verbal actions considered to be abusive, obscene, or threatening by a game official.


Warding Off: While in possession of the ball, using a free hand to control an opponent’s stick or body.


Zone Defense: Strategy in which players defend a specific part of the field, close to the goal, instead of guarding a single opponent


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