The cross-check in the game of box lacrosse is a legal play. Rule 40 of the CLA Rulebook states: “A legal cross-check shall be defined as a check applied with the portion of the stick held between the hands, on an opponent:
• From the front or side
• Below the shoulders
• Above the waist
• The extension of the arms while the check is being delivered is permissible.” The game of Box Lacrosse allows the cross-checking of players with the ball and without the ball.
In Pee Wee and younger, the non-ball carrier can only be cross-checked inside the dotted line. In Bantam and older, the non-ball carrier can be cross-checked in the defensive zone. The purpose of Rule 40 is to provide the guidelines of what is a legal and an illegal cross-check. The game of lacrosse is a physical game and the rules are in place to ensure fairness and player safety. The cross-check is a skill that is part of playing defense. From a coaching perspective, it is critical that we teach players to play defense first. To know where the ball is, where the opposing player is, and how to prepare to help a teammate. A defender uses the cross-check on the ball carrier to stop the opposing player from getting into the prime scoring areas. A defender uses the cross-check on the non-ball carrier to stop the opposing player from advancing into the prime scoring areas to receive a pass. For example, if a non-ball carrier cuts through the middle of the floor, the defender can cross-check that player to deter their path towards the net. The "Clear the House" mentality of playing defense needs to stop! Excessive force on the nonball carrier is illegal and is a penalty. The referee has the discretion on whether a player is defending their zone or using excessive force against an opponent. Players need to use the cross-check as part of their defensive strategy, not in an attempt to hurt or intimidate opposing players. Coaches can make a significant difference in the game by understanding the purpose of crosschecking, in its function and its implementation in the sport. The game of Box Lacrosse is inherently physical, it is why many people love the sport. The speed and contact make it a great game to play and watch. However, it is important to play the game within the rules, in order for the game to be safe for all participants.