Each team must keep at least four players, including the goalie, in its defensive half of the field and three in its offensive half. Three players (midfielders) may roam the entire field.
Generally, games are 80 minutes long, with 20 minute quarters. Each team is given a two minute break between the first and second quarters, and the third and fourth quarters. Halftime is ten minutes long. Modified games are played at the Mini-Tyke to Youth Divisions and last 60 minutes long, with two 25 minute halves. Each team is given a 10 minute break at half time.
Teams change sides between periods. Each team is permitted one timeout each half. The team winning the coin toss chooses the end of the field it wants to defend first.
Men’s lacrosse begins with a face-off. The ball is placed between the sticks of two squatting players at the center of the field. The official blows the whistle to begin play. Each face-off player tries to control the ball. The players in the wing areas can release; the other players must wait until one player has gained possession of the ball or the ball has crossed the goal line.
Center face-offs are also used after a goal and at the start of each quarter.
Players may run with the ball in the crosse (stick), pass and catch the ball. Only the goalkeeper may touch the ball with his hands.
A player may gain possession of the ball by dislodging it from an opponent’s crosse with a stick check, which includes the controlled poking and slapping of the stick and gloved hands of the player in possession of the ball.
Body checking is permitted if the opponent has the ball. However, Mini-Tyke, Tyke and Youth play a NON-CONTACT game in House League. Incidental contact may occur, but is monitored by the referees. All contact must occur from the front or side, above the waist and below the shoulders. An opponent’s crosse may also be stick checked if it is within five yards of a loose ball or ball in the air.
If the ball or a player in possession of the ball goes out of bounds, the other team is awarded possession of the ball. If the ball goes out of bounds after an unsuccessful shot on goal, the player nearest to the ball when and where it goes out of bounds is awarded possession.
An attacking player cannot enter the crease around the goal but may reach in with his stick to scoop a loose ball.