Basic Game and Positions
Field lacrosse is played in a 110 yard by 60 yard field—the size of a Canadian Football field. The field is divided into two zones, offensive and defensive zones, by a centre line. The goal is 6 feet square and is surrounded by a crease with a 9 foot radius.
There are 10 players on the field: 3 attack, 3 midfielders, 3 defence and a goalkeeper. Substitutions are done on the fly, with some restrictive substitution rules, and are generally made for the midfielders (most teams have 3 sets, midfielders play the whole length of the field therefore requiring regular substitution). Players assigned to one area may exchange positions as long as another player remains in the area as a temporary replacement.
Play begins with a face-off and the main theme for the game is ball control. Teams try to set up plays and work for the high percentage shots. There is no time requirement to take a shot so a team can maintain control of the ball for as long as it wants. Possession time can be increased because of the rule which allows the team with a player closest to where the ball leaves the playing surface on a shot on goal to maintain possession.
Since field lacrosse is played outdoors, players must be prepared to play in all kinds of weather conditions and therefore on various types of playing surfaces. For this reason, players usually prefer to use the plastic stick and not the traditional wooden lacrosse stick.
Players who have already played box lacrosse, will find field lacrosse a very different sport. Although the basic individual skills such as catching, passing and shooting are similar in the two games, most people will agree that field lacrosse is a unique sport.
Box lacrosse players being introduced to the field lacrosse game will find the individual skills learned in the confines of a lacrosse box will stand them in good stead on the lacrosse field. Little adaptation will be required of their ballhandling, passing and shooting skills to become competent field players. The major adjustments for the player will be in team play and rules.