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Offense / Defense Policy

At the Canadian Lacrosse Association (Lacrosse Canada) meeting in November 2007, it was decided that the use of the Offense / Defense coaching tactic be detrimental to the development of minor lacrosse players. The system the OLA has created to administer the new rule into minor lacrosse is laid out below. These changes will be in effect beginning with the 2008 lacrosse season.


Offense / Defense is defined as a tactic whereby, while at even strength, any player, or group of players, leaving the bench and deliberately returning to the bench without the benefit of participation of play in both the offensive and defensive zones during the same shift.

How Offense / Defense Will Be Called

The Offense / Defense rule is to be applied in the U15 age division and below. The rule will be in effect in all sanctioned OLA games, including zone play, invitational tournament competition, and Provincial Championships.

Only those referees assigned to the game (either on the floor, or the standby official if applicable), or a qualified independent evaluator, will be permitted to determine if a team is using the Offense / Defense tactic.

Three indicators for referees to help determine if a team may be using this tactic are:

  1. Teams who change players in accordance with changing possession of the ball.
  2. Teams using offensive ("Out" or "Front" door) and defensive ("In" or "Back" door) bench gates to substitute players during play.
  3. If a player is only playing at one end of the floor; either in the offensive or defensive end.

Penalty For Using Offense / Defense

The following discipline is to be assessed to the head coach of any time who is guilty of using Offense / Defense at any point during a game:

1st offense in a game:
A 2 minute bench minor penalty.

2nd offense in the same game:
A gross misconduct penalty to the head coach.