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Flag Down! How To Spot an Illegal Lacrosse Stick

  • 2 min read

Flag Down! How To Spot an Illegal Lacrosse Stick

For any lacrosse players, stick rules are important to understand because if it is illegal, not only will you not be able to use the stick until it’s fixed, but you will also end up in the penalty box. The good news is an illegal stick can be easily avoided as long as you know how to spot an illegal lacrosse stick. Here’s a simple breakdown of what to look for and possibly fix if you need to!

The Pocket

The easiest stick check you can perform on your own involves the pocket. All you need to do is hold the stick at eye level with a ball in the pocket. If the ball is resting completely below the sidewall, it’s illegal. If the ball is level with the sidewall or a part of the ball is a little bit above it, you’re all good!


Next up, a ref will do several measurements to see where your stick stands. Written below is what the ref will measure and where it should be from the top of the lacrosse head to the butt end.

Length of the Lacrosse Stick:

  • Short stick (midfielders/attackmen): 40 to 42 inches.
  • Long poll (defenders): 52 to 72 inches.
  • Goalie stick: 40 to 72 inches.

Length of the Lacrosse Head:

  • Length: 10 inches.
  • Width: At least six and a half inches (top), at least three and a half inches (middle), and at least three inches (bottom).

Shooting Strings

Another part of the stick a ref will check are the shooting strings. Make sure you don’t have a shooting sting beyond four inches starting from the top of the head. The ends of the shooting strings are also measured; the flare of the shooting string starting from the knot can’t be longer than two inches.

When you get custom strung lacrosse heads for sale at Lacrosse Fanatic done by our expert stringers, you won’t have to worry about where your shooting stings fall since they’ll make sure it follows stick rules for you!

Ball Withholding

Refs will also check to see how the ball stays in the lacrosse head, known as the hold. There are three tests a ref will use to check a stick’s hold: a forward tilt, lateral tilt, and a perpendicular tilt. If a ball remains in the stick after these movements, it’s illegal.

Tape Placement

Players also must be careful about how they tape their sticks. To keep a stick legal, no tape should touch the bottom of the lacrosse head (throat). If you’re doing this to hold a lacrosse head and shaft together, use a screw instead.

No Butt End

The final way to spot an illegal lacrosse stick is by looking at the bottom. If a stick doesn’t have a rubber butt end or tape covering the metal at the bottom shaft, then it will draw a flag. Not covering up the bottom of a lacrosse stick with a butt end or tape can harm people you’re playing with.