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Penalties

This page is all about beginning to understand many of the common penalties that take place in the game of lacrosse.  Ref Gordon Corsetti of Atlanta Youth Lacrosse has done an excellent job in breaking down a few of the most misunderstood penalties in the game of lacrosse.   Players, Parents, Coaches and even many Refs really at times don’t have a firm grasp on the penalties below.  

Gainesville Youth Lacrosse would like to send a special thanks to Gordon Corsetti and the Georgia Lacrosse Officials Association for allowing us to link to his website and for putting together such a wonderfully educational product.  We are certain that if you take the time to review these videos, you will come away with a much clearer understanding of what is – and what isn’t – a penalty.  
 
Illegal Body Check – From the typical buddy pass all the way to spearing this video will show the basic violations that result in an Illegal Body Check penalty.  Often, this penalty is used when any body check is done in an illegal manner.  Hence the name. 

Editors Note:  This call is missed often when a player is on his knees fighting for a ground ball and he is hit by body to body contact.  He may be checked on the stick or on the gloved hand holding the stick but not driven into the ground with body to body force.  
 
Warding Off – This video shows a ward at half and full speed.  It also shows cases that may appear to be a ward but are actually not wards at all.

Editor's Note:  Many times this is called because defense players are taught to "lift" the elbow of offensive players and that offensive player must bring his hand over to grasp the stick again - as shown in this video.   Regardless is whether a player holds his off hand up (like Duke teaches) or down like most everyone else teaches, it is only a ward when you push off Jim Brown style.
 
Goalie Interference - Explains crease play and whether or not a particular play is goalie interference.  

Editor's Note:  This is one of the most commonly missed calls when the goalie is fighting for the ball outside the crease.  Parents, Coaches, Players and Refs just flat out get this wrong often.  

Unnecessary Roughness – Excessively violent hits, hits on defenseless players (similar to the football penatly), intentionally running through a player who is setting a pick, late hits and high hits (top of shoulders, neck & head) all fit under the U.R. penalty.  This penalty is VERY subjective to each game and each official. 
 
Editor's Note:  You will see called more in youth lacrosse and high school lacrosse.   You will see it less and less at the elite or recruiting level HS lacrosse games or tournaments simply because these players have been taught to play the ball first.  Lacrosse is not football and players are exposed in many ways during shooting, picking up ground balls and passing...much like a wide receiver in football is exposed or a QB.  Safety is always the priority in lacrosse.
 
Slashing – At the youth level it is very important to control your stick and AIM for the stick or the gloved hand(s) that is/are holding the stick.  Anything else can be considered a slash and may be flagged. 
 
Editor's Note:  In the Northeast, a youth lacrosse player (8th grade and under) that puts the stick in one hand and attempts a check is immediately flagged for slashing.  Most of the youth leagues have a NO one handed check policy.  Hitting any part of the body other than the stick and the gloved hand (must be the one holding the stick) is a slash – especially if it is done without any control. Yes, even if it dislodges the ball.  
 
Cross-Checking – Cross Checking is a personal foul.
 
Editor's Note:  At the college level refs allow players to cross check hold.  In other words, the defensive player will separate their hands and put the metal part of the stick on another player’s body to hold them.  At the High School level In Florida, this issue has not been addressed in the correct manner.  Cross Check holds are very common at the HS level – and they are illegal. It happens at the youth level from time to time but because of the slower speed of the game it is usually flagged very quickly.  
 
Tripping –  Tripping requires positive primary action by a defender against an offensive player by either sticking out a leg or using the stick to prevent offensive players from moving forward.  Tripping is NOT incidental contact where the feet of the players get tangled by accident.
 
Editor's Note:  This (along with a push from behind on a player close to the crease) is one of the most difficult calls in the game.