Understanding the Three-Second Foul in Women's Lacrosse

A defender has only a few seconds to mark an offensive player inside the 8-meter arc with this lacrosse rule. If they don’t, the refs can award a free position shot to the offense.

July 11, 2018

Three seconds is a major foul on the defense that results in a free position shot.

As a defender, you must be within a stick’s length of an offensive player while inside the 8-meter arc. If you are within this area without marking an opponent for three seconds or longer, the referee can blow the whistle to stop play and award a free position shot opportunity to the offensive player who’s closest to where the foul occurred.

Ideally, defenders should stand even closer than a stick’s length to the player they’re guarding. Staying tight to your mark can help prevent the attacker from making a catch in the scoring area. It can also help keep your team from being charged with a foul and giving the opposing team a good opportunity to score from a free position shot.

There are several women’s lacrosse rules that defenders will need to remember when they step onto the field. The empty stick check is a frequently called foul against defenders that should be avoided.