First ever Patch of the Month - You Can't Make Shots You Don't Take!

Penalties - length, releasable and non-releasable

Asked by: Jimmy from outside Cleveland, OH

Question: Hi Nick. I was wondering - what kind of penalty is likely to be 'non releasable' and how come some penalties are one minute long when others are two minutes?

Answer from Nick: Hi Jimmy! Thank you for your question! I appreciate it and I hope my answer helps you.

There are different types of penalties one can receive in lacrosse and they fall into two buckets – personal fouls and technical fouls. Each group has different suspension rules. You frequently see tripping penalties, cross checks (where you hit someone without having your hands together), slashing, push from behind, too many men on the field/off sides, and even unnecessary roughness but it’s important to know which bucket each of these falls into. Believe it or not penalty times can be: 30 seconds, one minute, two minutes and even three minutes long.

  • The 30 second penalties are technical fouls and they are the ones that happen more frequently such as push from behind, warding and off sides will get this call and the penalty time is releasable. That means as soon as the time is up (or a goal has been scored by the team with the man up advantage) the same player can go right back onto the field.
  • A one-plus minute penalty would be a personal foul and is considered a more serious safety issue. Cross checks, slashing and tripping are all personal fouls.  Sometimes, depending on the referee and severity of the penalty they will be non-releasable penalties. A non-releasable penalty is where the same player must serve the whole penalty period without consideration for if a goal has been scored or not.

Because you play at a youth level the referee may exercise the rule that illegal body checks and checks involving the head incur an automatic two or three minute non releasable penalty.

As you get older two and three minute penalties are more unusual and as a result they are likely to remain non-releasable. This call is suited for penalties such as unnecessary roughness which is a fancy way of saying 'causing a fight on the field and delaying the game'.

Ohio is a great place for lacrosse especially because of the Ohio Machine Professional Lacrosse Team! In fact they have the first ever professional lacrosse stadium in America, cool right!

Thank you for your submission Jimmy and keeping on laxing!


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