Can You Kick the Ball in Lacrosse?

Lacrosse is known for its dynamic, fast-paced play using specialty rackets to throw, catch, and cradle the ball up and down the field. But are players ever allowed to kick the ball during live gameplay? Let’s take a look at the lacrosse rules regarding kicking.

Kicking is Legal…Sometimes

The answer is – it depends! Kicking the ball is legal in lacrosse under certain circumstances, but illegal in most typical gameplay situations. The rules around kicking vary slightly between men’s and women’s lacrosse.

In women’s lacrosse, the only time kicking is permitted is on a free position when restarting play after a foul or violation. The player taking the free position can choose to start by kicking the ball instead of passing or running with it. This allows for a quick restart.

Men’s lacrosse also allows kicking on free clear attempts made after non-time-serving penalties. Additionally, men can kick the ball to pick it up from the ground or gain possession from an opponent, though this must be done in one continuous motion.

Alternatively, holding the ball and taking steps is allowed before passing or shooting after picking up the ground ball. Defensive players may also use their feet to deliberately direct loose balls away from the net but may not possess it with their feet.

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Why Kicking is Restricted

So why is gratuitous kicking prohibited in lacrosse? There are several reasons:

  • It changes the dynamic, free-flowing nature of play.
  • Kicking doesn’t align with the specialized stick skills involved.
  • It constitutes an unfair advantage in ball control.
  • Excessive kicking can lead to a more physical, contact-focused game.
  • The ball is intended to be secured primarily in the racket pocket.
  • Technical stick handling, passing, and catching is integral to playing the sport’s position roles effectively.
  • It opens the door to potential recklessness and uncontrolled play.
Also Read:  Do Lacrosse Balls Float?

Exceptions like restarts were carved out to enable quicker transitions in play while still limiting uncontrolled kicking during live action.

Penalties for Kicking

If a player intentionally kicks the ball outside of permitted circumstances, it results in a turnover penalty. The opposing team takes possession of the ball.

If an unintentional kick occurs and the offending team maintains possession after, play continues without a change in ball control. However, officials stop play for an illegal kick turnover if the opposition would be disadvantaged.

So while lacrosse players can kick the ball in specialty situations, eschewing their rackets and opting to kick at will would detract from the sport’s distinct mechanics. That’s why lacrosse largely keeps feet confined to running rather than ball control.

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