Lacrosse Lore and the Shot Rule

This post was written by Coach Tom on November 12, 2009
Posted Under: Kids Lacrosse,Rules

As most kids’ lacrosse coaches know, the team with a player closest to
a shot when it goes out of bounds gets the ball.  So the shooting team
can retain possession of its own out of bounds shot. This “Shot Rule”
is unique to lacrosse and encourages players on both teams to hustle
chasing shots.

It’s very common to see older kids and college players dive towards
the ball, their sticks extended, trying to be closest to a shot when
it goes out of bounds. Some coaches even encourage their players to
take that dive. It impresses spectators. (It impresses me too.)

A few players and coaches believe that the stick is an extension of
the body, and if the stick is closest to the ball, then the player
holding the stick is closest to the ball. This is one of those items
of lacrosse lore. It’s untrue.

The rule in questions states:

“When a loose ball goes out of bounds as a result of a shot or
deflected shot at the goal, it shall be awarded to the team that has
an inbounds player’s body nearest to the ball when it became an out of
bounds ball, at the point where it was declared out of bounds.”

No mention of stick or crosse. Is there? (In the official rules a lacrosse stick
is called a crosse.) In fact, most refs will tell you that they look
to see which player’s chest is closest to the ball–not the stick and
not even the player’s arm or hand.

So there’s some value in a player’s diving towards the shot heading out of bounds. In diving his chest is as close to the ball as it’s likely to be. There’s even some value in extending the stick. The stick won’t count in the battle for proximity, but extending it will mean he’s unlikely to land on his stick if he dives.

Reader Comments

It is not the chest, it is the hand or the closest PLAYER to the ball…think of it that way, the stick does not count so the Defense does not have the advantage. If they stick their hand out, it is the glove we as officials look at.

Written By Brett on April 4th, 2012 @ 23:54

Hi Brett,

Thanks for you comment.

The refs in this area claim they use the chest.

The official rule is a little ambiguous–IMHO.

At the kids’ lacrosse level, the challenge is getting kids to chase the shot in the first place.

Any other refs out there want to share how they call it?

Written By Coach Tom on May 3rd, 2012 @ 13:01


  1.  on April 9th, 2010 @ 06:30
  2.  on April 9th, 2010 @ 16:45
  3.  on April 11th, 2010 @ 21:20
  4.  on April 15th, 2010 @ 16:49
  5.  on April 15th, 2010 @ 23:39

Add a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.