Lacrosse Quarters 101
Today we’ll review exactly how long a lacrosse game is and how many periods there are in a game. Additionally, we’ll touch on strategizing around the quarters and what the overtime rules are. Check out LacrosseMonkey for all your lacrosse equipment and information.
In this article, we’ll cover:
Defining Periods and Quarters
Lacrosse games either have 2 halves or 4 quarters depending on the season and tournament style. Normally games in the fall and summer have two 20-minute halves with running time. This means the clock is running for the entire half, even during timeouts. In the Spring season, a lacrosse game has 4 quarters with a start-stop timer. This means the clock stops on every whistle. This is meant to give both teams a fair chance and limit one team from stalling the game.
Duration of a Quarter
As a player's skill level rises, the game's quarters get extended. Youth leagues normally have 10-minute quarters. Middle school is 12-minute quarters. Depending on whether the league uses NCAA rules or not, high school will either be 12-minute or 15-minute quarters. College lacrosse uses 15-minute quarters.
Traditional Men's Lacrosse
Men’s lacrosse will have four 15-minute quarters. There is a two-minute break in between quarters and a ten-minute break at halftime. Halftime is crucial for teams to make changes to the game plan, whether it be for offense or defense.
Women’s lacrosse also uses four 15-minute quarters with the same time in between quarters and halves. This is one instance where men’s and women’s lacrosse are the same.
Lacrosse College Games
College lacrosse from the MCLA level to the Division One level all use the same timing. It is four 15-minute quarters with a two-minute break in between quarters and a ten-minute break at halftime.
Strategy and Momentum
Momentum is a huge factor in lacrosse, starting a quarter with a few quick goals can turn the entire game into a one-sided affair. Coaches will generally plan for the first half to be quick and high-scoring to try to gain momentum for the second half. The ten-minute halftime break gives each team time to recover and regain composure, effectively killing any momentum a team has. The second half is for where teams lock down on defense to maintain a lead or go all-out attack to gain the lead.
Halftime and Adjustments
Halftime is a perfect opportunity for coaches to make crucial changes to the game plan, whether it's adjusting match-ups or changing plays. Coming out of the halftime break is crucial, starting off slow could ruin a team's chances to win the game.
If a game ends in a tie it will go to overtime. Overtime is sudden death, meaning the game is over when a goal is scored. Overtime quarters are four minutes long with a two-minute break, teams also get one timeout to use.
All lacrosse leagues will use 4 quarters or 2 halves with slight variations to the length depending on the player's age and skill levels. Understanding the structure of a lacrosse game will make playing and watching lacrosse much more enjoyable. Check out LacrosseMonkey today to discover more information on lacrosse and to see our premier line-up of lacrosse equipment.
How many periods are there in high school lacrosse?
There are four 15-minute quarters in a high school lacrosse game.
What is a mercy rule in lacrosse?
The mercy rule is used when one team is outscoring another by five or more goals. It makes the winning team carry the ball through X before scoring the ball. Used primarily in youth lacrosse, this allows a team with newer players to compete and learn the game while playing against much better teams.
What is 3X lacrosse?
3X is also called 3 by, it is a 3 vs. 3 variant of lacrosse, primarily used in practice or warm-ups.
Is 16 too late to start lacrosse?
It is always possible to start lacrosse! Many great players such as Kyle Hartzel started late in high school and still became hall-of-fame-worthy players.