Lacrosse is one of those games that you can play from middle school until you go through college, and eventually, you might end up playing professionally. The game varies slightly depending on your age and skill level to accommodate for this. However, the question is, how long is a lacrosse game over these skill levels?
How long is a lacrosse game? The average lacrosse game played at a professional level will be broken up into four quarters. These quarters are 12-minutes each, with breaks being taken in between. A longer 10-minute break is often called for halftime, making it a similar structure to what you would find when it comes to football.
While this is for professional athletes, the lacrosse game times can vary significantly depending on your age.
This article aims to help you better understand these times and allow you to see how long a lacrosse game would be. Understanding the timing would ensure that you can prepare efficiently for the game.
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How Long Are Lacrosse Games Over Skill Levels?
As mentioned, the time available for play would vary depending on your skill level. This is not to factor in additional things like breaks, halftime, and timeouts, which players might often call. While the quarter times might set a benchmark, the game often runs much longer.
Here is a table showing the supposed times of each lacrosse game according to skill level:
|Level||Quarter Times||Real-Time (Averages)|
|Youth||4 x 8 minutes||50 minutes|
|High School||4 x 12 minutes||65 minutes|
|College||4 x 15 minutes||78 minutes|
|Professional||4 x 12 minutes||65 minutes|
As you can see, the times would vary slightly depending on your skill level. The average times only suggest the averages when you factor in the game is running smoothly.
You might often have unplanned disruptions that could disrupt the game. However, there are a few things that would extend the overall time:
- Timeouts: Each team will have two timeouts that can be used per half. Each of these timeouts would be 1-minute long, but due to the nature of the game, they add around 4 additional minutes, which would significantly increase the expected time.
- Halftime: Halftime is the time that separates the first 2 quarters from the final 2 quarters of the game. It is often a time for strategizing between the two teams and making decisions. The halftime would be around 10-minutes.
- Unforeseen Stoppages: Most games would have some unforeseen stoppages that often relate to possible injuries and when substitutions are made. However, officials can try to handle this and keep it in-game time.
- Overtime: Another factor to keep in mind would be the overtime of play. Some games would last much longer than others would when the score is tied, and the overtime is often dependent on the league. If teams were still tied after overtime, the game would enter sudden death.
As you can see, a lacrosse game can vary significantly. Football games on television are often 4 x 15 minutes with timeouts and halftime, but they are slotted for around 3 hours.
You should keep this in mind for lacrosse games as well. This makes it hard to determine the exact timeframe of an official lacrosse game.
Why Does Lacrosse Times Differ Depending On Skill Level?
One of the more common questions is why the times would vary depending on the different skill levels of players. As you might have noticed from the comparison table, the times can significantly vary, with some skill levels playing for longer.
Let’s Look at why the times are set for these different games:
1- Youth Leagues
Kids starting their lacrosse career would often start at a youth league. This can be in middle school when they learn the sport.
As you have noticed, the time played in each quarter is only 8-minutes, which does not seem like much. However, youth players do not have the same fitness levels as their professional counterparts.
Additionally, players might lack the fitness to play the full games, and this could significantly reduce the efficacy of these games.
Since these players are simply starting their journeys, they might not have the concentration or attention span to play these longer games, which could also reduce the quality of games. Youth leagues are often for learning the game.
2- High School
In high school, you will see things start getting more serious between players, and you often find that players are scouted during this period to make their college appearances and to ensure that get into a good and competitive college.
High school games can take about 65-minutes on average when looking at the overall factors.
High school would bring the timeframe to something more natural; this is when players start playing full games. While the 65-minute number is just an estimate, you need to keep in mind that games would often go overtime.
Overtime is around 4 minutes per quarter; this can go on forever if the score is not settled. The game would often enter sudden death at some point.
3- College Level
Lacrosse becomes far more serious once you enter college, which would be the time to shine. If you didn’t have such a great high school career, you want to make sure that you have a solid career in college.
Most professional scouts would follow college games, allowing them to see some of the best players and offering them a contract for the professional arena.
College games are slightly longer than other forms, and these games have around four-quarters of 15 minutes each. The halftime and timeout rules are the same, but teams of ten have 3 timeouts per half.
This can significantly increase the overall time of the game. Much like the other games, you still have overtime, which can go on indefinitely, depending on the league rules. However, sudden death would often be implemented.
4- Professional League
Lacrosse only recently adopted a Premier Lacrosse League, which has a few differences from that of the other leagues. The times are similar to high school, meaning these games are shorter than your typical college games.
Professional league games are played over four quarters, which span 15 minutes each, and a 10-minute halftime. Breaks between quarters are two minutes, and teams have three timeouts for the game.
These games often attract sponsorships and things that might allow the game to be longer to ensure the sponsors are also happy. However, tied games can go well beyond 70 minutes, and teams often have an additional 12 minutes to play when they go into overtime. After this, the game would go into sudden death.
Professional leagues are where players can start earning a living from the game, and this is also when the game is more serious.
Players need to play at a very high level to ensure they keep their positions, which could lead to injuries. Serious injuries on the field would often lead to extended breaks, but officials would try to mitigate this.
Why Are Lacrosse Games So Short Compared To Other Games?
One of the many questions people ask is why lacrosse does not have the same times as sports like soccer. Soccer players need to run around the field for a full 90-minutes, with a 10-minute break between the two halves. Since the players are always on the move, they need to be in the best condition for playing soccer.
It is hard to give an exact answer to this question, but lacrosse is often complicated with all the gear the players wear. Since soccer players wear minimal gear, they don’t fatigue as fast as you would find from your lacrosse players.
Depending on whom you ask, the reason would change, and even when we look at field hockey, the games tend to be longer. Some might argue that one is harder than the other, but both games would tire you out significantly.
Do I Need To Be Fit To Play Lacrosse?
One of the mandatory requirements, especially for those playing in the midfield, would be good fitness. Since you are constantly running around, having great levels of fitness would certainly ensure that you are up for it and that you can sustain the full game time.
Additionally, players lacking in fitness might also be prone to sustaining injuries, which might be frustrating for certain players, and you could end up with some serious pain.
Lacrosse games are plenty of fun, but they are short and sweet for a reason. The game’s main aim is to be entertaining, which is what the governing bodies have achieved.
If you play lacrosse, we would love to read your comments on the times and how long your games usually are.