Can You Hit or Tackle Someone In Lacrosse? Is It Legal?

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Throughout my years of playing lacrosse, I’ve had my fair share of bumps and bruises. Lacrosse is known to be a contact sport for a reason. There is one very common question that I get asked all the time by novice lacrosse players. Can you hit someone in lacrosse?

As a general rule, you can hit another lacrosse player by raming them with your shoulder. This is known as a body check. You can only do so if you have possession of the ball, if they have possession of the ball, or if they are within 5 yards away from the ball. This is done to stagger the opponent.

Can You Hit Someone In Lacrosse

Speaking from experience, getting armed by an attacker is not a fun experience. While you are allowed to hit someone by ramming into them, there are some rules that don’t allow lacrosse players from other means of contact. In this article, I will break down what kind of hits are allowed and what kind of hits are not allowed in lacrosse.

Can you hit with your shoulder in lacrosse?

In general, you can hit someone with your shoulder in lacrosse by ramming into another player while they have possession of the ball or while you have possession of the ball. Ramming another player with your shoulder is completely legal and could be done to stagger the opponent.

Keep in mind that shoulder ramming is not necessarily considered to be a tackle!

Whether you’re an attacker, defender, or middle fielder, you can ram into your opponent in three main scenarios:

  • When the opponent is in possession of the ball
  • When you’re in posession of the ball
  • When your oponent is within 5 yards of the ball
You Can shoulder tackle your opponent
Body Checking Is Legal When Done Right!

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These rules are set this way because any player that is next to the lacrosse ball is considered to be, what I call, “an active player” making it possible to get through or try and knock the ball out.

However, if you and your opponent are not anywhere near the lacrosse ball and you ram them with your shoulder, the referees will penalize you as there was no necessity for using this extraneous force.

Shoulder tackles should only be used in the heat of the game and as a last resort. However, DO NOT hit your opponent with the stick!

Before ramming another player, make sure to use your footwork and stick checks to make them drop the ball.

*By the way, I recently wrote an article breaking down All The Similarities and Differences Between Men’s & Women’s Lacrosse. This article goes in-depth about the real difference between the two sports and explains the rules for each. You can check out this article here!

Can you tackle someone in lacrosse?

As a general rule, you are not allowed to tackle another player in lacrosse. Tackling is considered to be an unnecessary force in the sport of lacrosse which makes it a strict violation. Instead of tackling, lacrosse players are permitted to perform body checking to knock the ball out of the sticks.

Many new lacrosse players believe that lacrosse is played the same way as American football. While it is similar in some aspects, lacrosse is considered a completely different sport!

Lacrosse is played in a 10-on-10 configuration and can have 13 players on one half of the field at once. This makes it very easy to collide with someone on accident and be charged with a violation.

Honestly, I wouldn’t blame you if you one day accidentally tackled someone in the field. Lacrosse can get very intense at times especially when you’re a defender!

Instead of tackling, you should try to perfect your body checking game so that you knock the ball out of the other player’s stick.

*Side Note: If you wear glasses you might be wondering If You Can Play Lacrosse While Wearing Glasses. I recently wrote an article that explains if you should wear glasses at a lacrosse game as well as whether or not you should wear lacrosse goggles during a game. You can check out this article here!

Can you hit someone with a stick in lacrosse?

You are NOT allowed to hit another player with your lacrosse stick. This will count as slashing or as a cross-check which are illegal maneuvers where your stick makes contact with another player. However, you are allowed to hit another player’s stick with your stick. This is called a stick-check.

Your Stick Cannot Make Contact With Another Player

Your Stick Cannot Make Contact With Another Player!

Checking means that you are allowed to make some sort of contact during a game of lacrosse. There are two different types of checks that are legal to make in lacrosse:

Stick Checks and Body Checks

Stick Check: During a stick check, you are allowed to hit your opponent’s stick with your stick to dislodge the ball.

Body Check: During a body check, you are allowed to ram into your opponent with your shoulder or with both hands on the stick no more than 6 inches apart. Anything more than that will count as a cross-check.

*By the way, I recently wrote an article that talks about If Lacrosse Is A Fun Sport To Play. This article breaks down if it is easy to learn lacrosse as well as how lacrosse is played. You can check out this article here!

Slashing Vs Checking in Lacrosse

Checking is NOT the same as slashing! Slashing occurs when you swipe the stick and make contact with another player’s body. This is illegal in lacrosse as it can cause serious injuries.

While playing lacrosse, I’ve seen so many players accidentally slashing their opponents which gets them penalized by the referees.

Each lacrosse player has to be careful when attempting a stick check since if you miss, you can potentially hit the player with your stick and be charged with slashing!

*By the way, I recently wrote an article about If It Is Possible for A Lacrosse Stick Can Break A Bone. This article talks about if it is possible to break a bone when getting hit by a lacrosse stick and what to expect. You can check out this article here!

What hits are illegal in lacrosse?

There are 5 illegal hits that can occur in lacrosse:

  • Cross Checking
  • Slashing
  • Illegal Body Checking
  • High Sticking
  • Free Hand Checking

Each of these illegal hits constitutes some kind of potential injury that another player could encounter. Knowing how to avoid making these illegal hits will create a safe area of playing for you and your fellow lacrosse players.

Many of these illegal hits happen by accident since the legal hits are very easy to mess up. Messing up a body check or a stick check can easily count as an illegal hit.

*By the way, I recently wrote an article about If Lacrosse Players Should Wear Protective Cups. This article talks about if lacrosse players should wear cups and breaks down the rules of wearing protective cups in lacrosse. You can check out this article here!


Hey, my name is Denis. I am the creator of, a website dedicated for novice players of all sports to find the answers that they are looking for! I've played many different types of sports since I was 10 years old and I recently realized that there are still a lot of questions that players have when coming into a new sport. Hopefully, this website helps you get the answers that you were looking for!

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