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Field lacrosse


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Field lacrosse is the men's outdoor version of the sport. There are ten players on each team: three attackmen, three midfielders, three defensemen, and one goalie. Each player carries a lacrosse stick. A short stick measures between 40 and 42 inches (100 and 110 cm) long and is used by attackmen and midfielders. A maximum of four players on the field per team may carry a long stick which is between 52 and 72 inches (130 and 180 cm) long and is used by the three defensemen and sometimes one defensive midfielder. The goalie uses a stick with a head as wide as 12 inches (30 cm) that can be between 40 and 72 inches (100 and 180 cm) long.

The field of play is 110 by 60 yards (101 by 55 m). The goals are 6 by 6 ft (1.8 by 1.8 m) and are 80 yd (73 m) apart. Each goal sits inside a circular "crease", measuring 18 ft (5.5 m) in diameter. The goalie has special privileges within the crease to avoid opponents' stick checks. Offensive players or their sticks may not enter into the crease at any time. The mid-field line separates the field into an offensive and defensive zone for each team. Each team must keep four players in its defensive zone and three players in its offensive zone at all times. It does not matter which positional players satisfy the requirement, although usually the three attackmen stay in the offensive zone, the three defensemen and the goalie stay in the defensive zone, and the three middies play in both zones. A team that violates this rule is offsides and either loses possession of the ball if they have it or incurs a technical foul if they do not.

The regulation playing time of a game is 60 minutes, divided into four periods of 15 minutes each. Play is started at the beginning of each quarter and after each goal with a face-off. During a face-off, two players lay their sticks on the ground parallel to the mid-line, the two heads of their sticks on opposite sides of the ball. At the whistle, the face-off-men scrap for the ball, often by "clamping" it under their stick and flicking it out to their teammates. When one of the teams has possession of the ball, they bring it into their offensive zone and try to score a goal. Due to the offsides rule, settled play involves six offensive players versus six defensive players and a goalie.

If the ball goes out of bounds, possession is awarded against the team that touched it last. The exception is when the ball is shot towards the goal. Missed shots that go out of bounds are awarded to the team that has the player who is the closest to the ball when and where the ball goes out. During play, teams may substitute players in and out if they leave and enter the field through the substitution area, sometimes referred to as "on the fly". After penalties and goals, players may freely substitute and do not have to go through the substitution area.

Penalties are either technical or personal fouls. Personal fouls such as cross-checking, illegal body check or slashing, are about player safety. Cross-checking is when a player checks another player with their hands further than shoulder-width apart on the shaft. A slash is when a player swings his/her stick at another player uncontrollably, usually to the discretion of the referee. Even if he/she does not hit the player in possession, a flag can still be thrown. These fouls draw 1-minute or longer penalties; the offending player must leave the field and stay in the substitution area for the length of the penalty. Penalties are either releasable or non-releasable; releasable means that if a goal is scored by either team during the time that the penalty is served, the player serving the penalty can re-enter the play and both teams will once again have an equal number of players. Non-releasable means that the player must serve the entire time of the penalty, regardless of any goals scored. His team plays with nine players for the duration. Because of the offsides rule, this means the opponent plays with six attackers versus five defenders plus the goalie. Technical fouls, such as offsides, pushing, and holding, result in either a turnover or a 30-second penalty, depending on which team has the ball.

The team that has taken the penalty is said to be playing man down, while the other team is man up. Teams will use various lacrosse strategies to attack and defend while a player is being penalized.

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