AYL TV – Illegal Body Check

Rule 5, Section 3 – Illegal Body Check (NFHS Boys Lacrosse Rule Book)

Art. 1 – “Body checking of an opponent who is not in possession of the ball or within five yards of a loose ball.”

Art. 2 – “Avoidable body check of an opponent after he has passed or shot the ball.”

Art. 3 – “Body checking of an opponent from the rear or at or below the waist.”

Art. 4 – “Body checking of an opponent by a player, in which contact is made above the shoulders of the opponent.”

Art. 5 – “Body checking of an opponent who has any part of his body other than his feet on the ground.”

Art. 6 – “Blocking of an opponent with the head or initiating contact with the head (spearing). A minimum of a one-minute non-releasable penalty will be assessed for spearing. A three-minute non-releasable penalty will be assessed if the spearing was vicious.”

The Illegal Body Check is a catch-all penalty for many different types of violations. The most common being hitting an opponent from beyond five yards of the ball. This happens often after a shot. Where a defender is moving towards the shooter, then the shot is taken, and then the defender lays out the shooter. Because the ball was shot it is beyond five yards from the shooter very quickly. If the defenseman does not stop it is likely that he hit the shooter illegally.

Hopefully this video helped shed some light on the different violations that an IBC encompasses. Remember, keep all your hits below the shoulders and above the waist and you can cut down on a lot of these penalties during a game.


About Lou Corsetti

Gordon is a born lacrosse official who played for ten years before realizing he'd much rather ref the game than play it. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia and officiates youth, high school, and collegiate men's lacrosse games all over the southeast. His passion is educating and training officials, coaches, players, parents and all other fans on the rules of lacrosse, it's history, and how best to develop lacrosse in new areas.

3 thoughts on “AYL TV – Illegal Body Check

  1. Andrew MacIsac

    Great job! But I have to say, that in almost every one of these instances, your defender is guilty of a cross check. I think this is a disturbing trend in all levels of lacrosse. Cross checks are happening and no one is calling them.

  2. Gordon


    Thanks for the comment and you are correct. I was so focused on getting the IBC information correct I neglected to remind my demonstrators to keep their hands together.

    Any of the body contact in the IBC video could be called a cross-check because the hands are so far apart. I will say this is more of a problem at the youth level than more experienced levels. Generally a Varsity game will have an official warn the players to get the hands together and they generally listen. However there should be no warning at the youth level in my opinion.

    I will remind my youth zebras to be aware of the cross-checks. They have to pass a quiz before I let them onto the field so that will be a good place to get them all onto the same page.

    Stay tuned for future videos!


  3. Dave


    Great Job. A couple of thoughts: The first “check” would mostly / could be called interfernace (IMO) which is contact more than 5 yards from the ball. A body check would be a severe,and almost always intentional contact occurs.

    The cross check debate, while a point of emphasis this year from USL, is elvolving with the game. A cross check is rarely called at the high school level when a defender (most always a short stick) attemts to slow the advance of an attacking player. Often you will see a pushing thrust, which technically is illegal, but again, part of the dynamics of the evolvment of the game. The cross check call, IMO is rooted in satey, one of two primary reasons for the referees: Safety and Fairness. When play becomes unsafe, such as overagressive or violent the flag comes out. It’s often a fine line when there is overt violence shown at the advanced high school and college level.

    My worthless 2 cents.

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