Can Lacrosse Goalies Use Their Hands? The Lacrosse Goalie Rules



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Lacrosse can be a challenging sport to get your grip around, but once you get the hang of it, it’s one of the most exciting sports in the world. Arguably, the most pressure position on the pitch is the goalkeeper, as the goalkeepers are directly responsible for the score on the pitch. Luckily, lacrosse goalies can use their hands, which makes the job a bit easier!

The behavior of goalkeepers is governed by many different rules. Here are specific rules that apply to goalkeepers. While most of the rules apply to all game formats, there are slight differences in the rules. 

What is the goaltending rules in lacrosse?

In lacrosse, goalies get certain benefits in the area known as the crease. These benefits include the rule that opposition players cannot touch the goalie in any way when they’re in the crease area, regardless of whether they have the ball or not. 

If a player is attacking, they can reach the crease area. However, they must not make any contact with the goalkeeper or the keeper’s crosse. In the case the keeper does receive contact, the referee will call a foul. If the goalkeeper’s team collects the ball, they’ll call an advantage and will yell the words “play on.” These rules give the goalkeeper protection. 

For a goalkeeper to be out of the crease area, the stick as well as the body must be out. This means the keeper’s body or crosse cannot physically be touching the ground on the crease.

However, if the goalie’s stick is outside the restricted area, outfield players can use their sticks to check the goalie’s pass. This is why keeper’s must be careful of where their sticks are.

When it comes to making saves, keepers in lacrosse have to abide by a bunch of different rules. They may stop or block the ball in any manner with their crosse or body. Keepers also have the option to block or bat away the ball with their hands.

However, if the ball is on the ground within the crease, the keeper cannot bat or direct the ball with their hand. The keeper isn’t allowed to catch the ball or even pick it up from the ground. If the keeper makes a violation along those lines, it can have massive consequences for their team.

The opposing team will be awarded a penalty and a free chance to score against the team that commits the violation. It’s absolutely crucial that goalies are familiar with the rules of the game.

While other outfield players making errors can have consequences, a goalkeeper committing an error will almost always result in the other team scoring a free goal. That’s why it’s arguably the most pressure position on the field. 

Additionally, in the women’s game, keepers can pick up the ball inside the crease. They can’t hold the ball in their hand for an extended period and must switch to the crosse

Can other players use their hands in lacrosse?

While playing lacrosse, a common misconception is that the other players can also use their hands on the ball. However, only the goalkeeper has permission to touch the ball with their hands, and even they can’t hold the ball in their grasp.

Goalkeepers have the permission to only swat the ball away when it’s in the air. Any mishandling by the goalkeeper will also result in a penalty. 

What is goalie interference in lacrosse?

While a goalie is in the restricted area, any form of contact will result in interference and called a foul. However, if the goalie has a clamped ball and isn’t inside the restricted area, other players can check the goalkeeper legally. Any form of contact with the goalkeeper inside the restricted area will result in a foul.

Outfield players can challenge other defenders while there’s a loose ball in the area but, it doesn’t apply to goalkeepers. They’re afforded this extra protection to help avoid any significant injuries. 

Can you hit the goalie in lacrosse?

There are certain circumstances and conditions that protect the goalkeeper from contact during lacrosse. While they’re in the restricted area, you can’t check goalkeepers, regardless of whether they have the ball or not.

However, if they’re outside the restricted area, you can check goalkeepers like you would any other player. Excessive contact will lead to a foul, but all the other rules will still apply. Once the goalkeeper leaves the restricted area, which rarely happens during a game, they’re the same as an outfield player, and all checks are legal unless they use excessive force. 

How long can a lacrosse goalie stay in the crease?

Once the goalie keeps possession in the restricted area, there are certain different rules that apply to the men’s game and women’s game. In the men’s game, the goalie has four seconds to either leave the crease or throw a pass. In the women’s game, the goalie has the option to stay within the crease for 10 seconds.

Once the goalie leaves the restricted area in lacrosse, they might not re-enter the area without passing the ball. If they pass the ball to someone else, they can enter the restricted area. Upon entry to the restricted area, the countdown will begin again, indicating the amount of time the new player can spend in the crease. 

Can you kick the ball into the goal in lacrosse?

While lacrosse is a combination of multiple sports, it still has to follow certain rules. Keepers have permission to use any part of their body to save a goal in lacrosse. However, the other players don’t have the same luxury.

To score a goal fairly, outfield players must use the crosse stick. If there’s a deflection on the way to the goal, then the goal will still count.

However, if an opposition player uses any other part of their body to deliberately score a goal, it will not count. In these cases, the team that concedes the illegal goal is awarded possession of the ball, and the goal does not stand. 

Can a goalie lacrosse stick be illegal?

Like most sports, lacrosse has very strict requirements for their equipment. There are regular equipment checks before games begin and opposing teams can even ask to conduct a stick check during the match.

According to the rules of the game, a goalie’s stick must measure between 40-72 inches. The measurement is conducted from the bottom of the stick to the top of the stick. A typical lacrosse goalie head measures in at 15″ inches tall, and you have to keep that in mind when selecting the size of your stick. 

In the women’s game, the length requirements for the goalie stick lies between 35.5 to 52 inches. A goalie stick is going to be deemed illegal if it fails to meet these requirements. 


Like many other sports, being a goalkeeper is arguably the most pressure position on the court. There are certain rules in the game that provide goalkeepers with an advantage but, to take full advantage, the goalie themselves need to be completely clear about the rules. Hopefully, this article will aid all Lacrosse goalies in improving their understanding of the sport. 

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