Lacrosse is a fast-paced sport and time is an essential element in the game. Understanding how long each period lasts and how time is kept is crucial for players and fans alike.

In this post, we will break down the different periods in lacrosse, from women's to box lacrosse, and discuss how timekeeping impacts the game.

Whether you are a lacrosse enthusiast or a newcomer to the sport, this guide will help you understand the ins and outs of this exciting game.

How many periods are in lacrosse?

In general, lacrosse games are divided into four quarters, with each quarter lasting 12-15 minutes. However, this can vary depending on the league and level of play.

For example, NCAA men's lacrosse games have four 15-minute quarters, while high school boys' games have four 12-minute quarters.

Women's lacrosse, on the other hand, was earlier split into two halves, with each half lasting 30 minutes, but now the game is split into four 15-minute periods.

How many periods are in a women's lacrosse game?

As mentioned, women's lacrosse games consisted earlier of two halves, with 30 minutes of game time in total, but after the 2022 rule changes, women's lacrosse games are also now played in four 15-minute quarters with 2-minute breaks between quarters.

In addition, women's lacrosse games have a 10-minute halftime break. These rule changes aim to make the game more competitive and entertaining for spectators.

How many periods are in a box lacrosse game?

Box lacrosse games are different from field lacrosse in that they are played in a smaller, enclosed area. Box lacrosse, popular in Canada, is typically played indoors and is much faster-paced than outdoor lacrosse.

Box lacrosse games are divided into four periods, each 15 minutes long, with a two-minute break between each period.

Additionally, there is a 15-minute halftime break. Box lacrosse games are more physical, and players must wear full protective gear.

How many periods are in a high school lacrosse game?

In most states, high school boys' lacrosse games consist of four quarters, with each quarter lasting 12 minutes and with a halftime break of 10-12 minutes.

The clock is stopped during timeouts, injuries, and certain penalties. Girls' high school lacrosse follows the format with two halves of 25 minutes each.

How many periods are in a college lacrosse game?

College lacrosse games typically follow the same format as men's professional lacrosse, with four 15-minute quarters and a halftime break of 10-15 minutes. Just like in high school lacrosse, the clock is stopped during timeouts, injuries, and certain penalties.

Longer college quarters allow for more strategy and creative play, which makes college lacrosse games more exciting to watch.

How many periods are in a youth lacrosse game?

Youth lacrosse games can vary in the number of periods played. Some youth leagues play with four quarters, while others may only play with two or three periods.

The length of each period in youth lacrosse games can also vary, but typically there are four eight-minute quarters in youth lacrosse.

Girls' youth lacrosse game length varies from 8U to 14U with 8U & 10U games consisting of two 12-18 minute halves and 12U & 14U games having two 20-25 minute halves.

Breaking Down the Four Quarters of Lacrosse

The four quarters in lacrosse offer each team an opportunity to regroup, assess their strategies, and make adjustments. It also allows them to rest and recover, which is essential in such a physically demanding sport.

For most games, there is a 10-15 minute halftime between the second and third quarters. It gives coaches and players a chance to review the first half's performance, refuel, and make any necessary changes.

Each quarter has its unique characteristics that players can use to their advantage. For example, in the first quarter, teams may focus on feeling out their opponents or establishing an early lead.

The second quarter may be when teams make necessary adjustments and increase their intensity as the halftime break approaches.

In the third quarter, players may have to battle through fatigue, so staying mentally tough is essential.

In the fourth quarter, the game may get more physical as teams attempt to secure a victory or make a comeback.

Differences in Periods Across Lacrosse Leagues and Divisions

The differences in time and period length across lacrosse leagues can cause confusion for some fans and players.

However, it is essential to remember that the sport is ever-changing, and these differences are often due to the league's goals and strategies.

For example, the National Lacrosse League (NLL) has four quarters, each lasting 15 minutes, and the Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) has games divided also into four quarters but each lasting 12 minutes.

How Time Is Kept in Lacrosse Games

Lacrosse is known for its fast pace and the clock's constant ticking, but it is important to note that the clock stops in specific circumstances, such as a timeout or an injury. The clock also stops after goals are scored and on penalty calls.

For example, in the Premier Lacrosse League, there is also a stop-clock time during the last minute of each quarter.

Time management is an essential element in lacrosse, and coaches must manage the game clock effectively to ensure their team's success.

Strategies for Playing Based on Period Timing

Even with a running clock, period length in lacrosse can significantly impact the game. Teams with a lead can slow down their play in the final quarter to maintain possession and run the clock out.

Conversely, teams that are down can speed up their play to try to score quickly and catch up. Strategies should be adjusted based on the remaining time in each quarter to maximize the team's potential to win the game.

In the final minute, teams may opt for a slow-down strategy or take quick shots in attempts to score before the period ends.

The Impact of Period Length on Lacrosse Game Play

The length of each period can significantly impact lacrosse games. Longer periods can turn the game into a battle of endurance, while shorter periods may require teams to make faster, more aggressive plays.

Teams must be adaptable to shift their strategies depending on the period length and adjust to different divisions and leagues.

Ultimately, the length and number of periods in lacrosse contribute to the unique nature of the sport. Whether it’s the fast-paced action of box lacrosse or the longer periods of girl’s lacrosse, understanding the timing and strategy of each game is crucial for success on the field.


Time management in lacrosse is a vital part of the game, and understanding how the game is structured is crucial for players and fans alike.

From women's to box lacrosse, each league and division has its own way of tracking time, and period length can significantly impact game strategy.

Now that you understand the different periods in lacrosse, you can start to appreciate how game time impacts gameplay. From long, strategic plays in women’s lacrosse to the intense battles for possession in box lacrosse, each form of lacrosse brings its own challenges and opportunities.

Keep practicing and learning the game, and soon you’ll be able to recognize how periods contribute to the excitement of lacrosse.

Find the top-rated lacrosse equipment without the hassle of doing your own research with our expert selections.

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