What Is A Cross Check In Lacrosse?

In the realm of lacrosse, a cross check is a fundamental defensive move that players employ to impede their opponents. It involves using the shaft of the lacrosse stick to apply pressure against an opponent’s body, specifically between the shoulders. The purpose of a cross check is to disrupt the opposing player’s movement, obstruct their ability to pass or shoot, and ultimately gain possession of the ball.

While the technique itself is legal within certain boundaries, it is important for players to understand the rules and regulations surrounding cross checks to avoid penalties. By mastering effective body positioning, timing, and execution, players can incorporate cross checks into their defensive strategy, creating a formidable presence on the field. However, it is crucial to remember the nuances of this technique to avoid common mistakes.

Key Takeaways

  • Cross checking is a defensive tactic used in lacrosse to impede opponents and disrupt offensive plays.
  • It involves using the stick to forcefully push or hit an opponent within the rules of the game.
  • Cross checking helps players gain a tactical advantage by creating separation, receiving passes, establishing a defensive stance, and adding a physical element to the game.
  • Proper technique, understanding the legality, and incorporating cross checking into defensive strategies are important for success.

What Is Cross Check?

What Is Cross Check?

A cross check in lacrosse refers to the act of using the shaft of the stick to forcefully push or hit an opponent. This technique is employed to disrupt the opposing player’s movement, impede their progress, or gain an advantage in the game. It is important to note that a cross check is a legal move in lacrosse when executed within the boundaries of the sport’s rules.

However, excessive or deliberate cross checking can result in penalties, such as a penalty box time or even ejection from the game. It is essential to maintain proper sportsmanship and respect for the opponent while executing a cross check. Understanding the definition and appropriate use of a cross check is crucial for players aiming to excel in the sport and foster a sense of belonging within the lacrosse community.

Purpose Of Cross Checking

One key purpose of cross checking in lacrosse is to gain a tactical advantage over the opposing player. With cross checking, players can create space, establish positioning, and disrupt the opponent’s offensive plays. Here are four ways cross checking serves its purpose:

  • Creating separation: By using cross checking, players can effectively create space between themselves and their opponents, making it easier to receive passes or take shots.
  • Maintaining defensive stance: Cross checking allows defenders to establish and maintain a proper defensive position, making it harder for the offensive player to maneuver.
  • Disrupting offensive plays: By applying cross checking pressure, defenders can disrupt the flow of offensive plays, preventing the opposing team from executing their strategies smoothly.
  • Physicality and intimidation: Cross checking adds a physical element to the game, which can intimidate opponents and create a psychological advantage.

Technique Of Cross Checking

The technique of cross checking in lacrosse involves using a controlled and forceful motion to make contact with an opponent’s body using the shaft of the lacrosse stick. It is a defensive maneuver aimed at impeding the progress of an opposing player. To execute a cross check, the player positions their hands apart on the stick, with one hand closer to the head and the other towards the bottom.

The player then extends their arms and uses the shaft to push or shove the opponent, making sure to maintain a firm grip on the stick. The objective is to disrupt the opponent’s movement and potentially force a turnover. It is important to note that cross checking must be performed within the rules of the game to avoid penalties.

Legality Of Cross Checks

Cross checking in lacrosse is subject to specific rules and regulations that determine its legality. Understanding the legality of cross checks is crucial for players and officials to ensure fair play and player safety. Here are some key points regarding the legality of cross checks:

  • Cross checks must be delivered within the legal striking zone, which is defined as the area between the shoulders and the waist of the opponent.
  • Players must avoid striking opponents in the head or neck area, as this can lead to serious injury and penalties.
  • Cross checks should not be excessively forceful or violent, as this can result in penalties for unnecessary roughness.
  • It is important to note that the intent behind a cross check can also affect its legality, as deliberate and malicious cross checks are generally considered illegal.

Referee Signal For Cross Checks

The referee signals a cross check by raising their arm and extending it straight out in front of them. This clear and distinct signal allows the players, coaches, and spectators to easily recognize when a cross check has occurred. By using this universally recognized gesture, the referee effectively communicates to all parties involved that a violation of the rules has taken place.

The signal acts as a visual cue, helping to maintain order and fairness on the field. Now that we understand how the referee signals a cross check, let’s delve into the examples of cross checking in lacrosse, to further grasp the implications and impact of this particular infraction.

Examples Of Cross Checking In Lacrosse

Examples Of Cross Checking In Lacrosse

Examples of cross checking in lacrosse include aggressive player-to-player contact with the stick, intentional pushing or shoving with the shaft, and using excessive force when striking an opponent’s body. These actions are considered fouls and can result in penalties or even ejections from the game. The purpose of cross checking is to gain an advantage over the opponent by forcefully checking them with the stick.

However, it is important to note that there are strict rules and regulations regarding the use of cross checking in lacrosse. Players must use their stick in a controlled and legal manner to ensure the safety of all participants. It is crucial for players to understand the boundaries and limitations of cross checking to maintain a fair and enjoyable playing environment.

  • Aggressive player-to-player contact with the stick
  • Intentional pushing or shoving with the shaft
  • Using excessive force when striking an opponent’s body
  • Checking an opponent’s stick while in possession of the ball

Importance Of Footwork In Cross Checking

Footwork plays a crucial role in the effective execution of cross checking in lacrosse. Good footwork allows players to maintain balance, stability, and control while delivering a cross check. It also enables players to quickly adjust their position and react to the movements of their opponents.

To illustrate the importance of footwork, let’s take a look at the following table:

Footwork Skills Benefits
Quick lateral movement Allows players to stay in front of their opponents and prevent them from gaining an advantageous position.
Balance and stability Enables players to deliver powerful and controlled cross checks without losing their footing.
Agility and quickness Helps players evade opponents, create space, and execute effective defensive strategies.
Proper weight transfer Allows players to generate maximum force when delivering a cross check, making it more effective.
Quick pivoting Enables players to change direction rapidly, making it harder for opponents to evade or avoid the cross check.

Proper Stick Placement In Cross Checking

To execute a successful cross check in lacrosse, it is essential to focus on the proper placement of the stick. Proper stick placement not only ensures a legal and effective cross check but also minimizes the risk of penalties or injuries. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Grip: Hold the stick firmly, with both hands evenly spaced apart.
  • Positioning: Place the stick across the opponent’s torso, using your body as a barrier.
  • Angle: Tilt the stick slightly towards the ground to maximize force and control.
  • Pressure: Apply steady pressure while maintaining a controlled motion, pushing or checking the opponent.

Effective Body Positioning For Cross Checking

How can players achieve effective body positioning for cross checking in lacrosse? Body positioning is crucial in executing a successful cross check while maintaining fairness and safety on the field. To achieve this, players must focus on three key aspects: balance, leverage, and stability. Firstly, maintaining good balance is essential. Players should keep their feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and their weight evenly distributed. This allows for better stability and the ability to react quickly.

Secondly, players should utilize leverage by positioning their bodies between the opponent and the goal. By doing so, they can control the opponent’s movements and limit their offensive options. Lastly, players should maintain a stable base, keeping their upper body squared and their core engaged. This provides strength and power while delivering a cross check. By mastering these aspects of body positioning, players can effectively execute cross checks in lacrosse, contributing to their team’s success.

Timing And Execution Of Cross Checks

The timing and execution of cross checks in lacrosse require precision and strategic decision-making by players. To successfully perform a cross check, players must consider the following:

  • Timing: Players need to choose the right moment to initiate a cross check. This involves assessing the movement of the opponent and anticipating their actions.
  • Positioning: Proper body positioning is crucial for an effective cross check. Players should aim to have a strong base and maintain balance to generate maximum power.
  • Technique: The execution of a cross check involves using the stick to apply pressure on the opponent’s body. Players must focus on the correct hand placement and leverage to deliver a strong and legal check.
  • Communication: Cross checks can be more effective when players communicate with their teammates. Coordinated efforts and teamwork can create opportunities for successful checks.

Incorporating Cross Checking Into Defensive Strategy

Incorporating Cross Checking Into Defensive Strategy

Cross checking is frequently incorporated into defensive strategies in lacrosse to disrupt the opposing team’s offensive plays. By utilizing the cross check, defenders aim to impede their opponents’ movement, block passing lanes, and create turnovers. This defensive tactic serves as a powerful tool in asserting control and limiting the effectiveness of the opposing team’s offensive strategies. By applying pressure through cross checking, defenders can force their opponents into making hasty decisions, leading to mistakes and turnovers.

Cross checking allows defenders to maintain physicality and establish a strong presence on the field, asserting their dominance and intimidating the opposing offensive players. Incorporating cross checking into a defensive strategy not only disrupts the flow of the game for the opposing team but also instills a sense of unity and belonging among the defensive players, fostering a strong and cohesive defensive unit.

Common Mistakes To Avoid In Cross Checking

To ensure effective and legal cross checking in lacrosse, players must be aware of common mistakes that should be avoided. These mistakes can lead to penalties, injuries, and ineffective play. Here are some common mistakes to avoid:

  • Excessive force: Applying excessive force while cross checking can result in penalties for unnecessary roughness. Players must remember to use controlled force and avoid unnecessary aggression.
  • Incorrect technique: Cross checking requires proper form and technique. Players should avoid using the shaft of their stick to hit opponents’ bodies or heads, as this can lead to penalties and potential injury.
  • Inconsistent timing: Timing is crucial in cross checking. Players should avoid being too early or too late with their checks, as mistimed checks can result in missed opportunities or penalties.
  • Neglecting defensive positioning: While cross checking, players should not neglect their defensive positioning. It is important to maintain proper body positioning and footwork to effectively defend against opponents.


How do you cross-check in box lacrosse?

Using your stick to check the other player’s stick is okay, but it’s not allowed if you do it too hard or against someone who doesn’t have the ball. Also, you can only do it between the hips and shoulders. Hitting the other player in the head, neck, leg, back, or private area is not allowed and is called slashing.

Is cross-checking illegal?

Cross-checking is an infraction in the sport of ice hockey and ringette. This sport where a player checks an opponent by using the shaft of their ice hockey stick or ringette stick with both hands. This article deals chiefly with ice hockey.

Can you one hand check in lacrosse?

In US Lacrosse Youth Rules games, add Rule 5.7.4: “A one-handed check is a slash regardless of whether it makes contact with the other player.”

Is there fighting in lacrosse?

Lacrosse allows fighting, but any fight will result in penalties for both players. Depending on the nature of the incident, the game officials may decide to impose more penalties. A fight may result in additional fines and suspensions.


In conclusion, cross checking is a fundamental technique in lacrosse used to defend against opponents. It involves using the stick to push or check an opposing player. Proper body positioning, timing, and execution are crucial for an effective cross check. Incorporating this technique into defensive strategies can greatly enhance a team’s performance. However, it is important to follow the rules and avoid common mistakes to maintain legality and maximize effectiveness.

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