The game clock is an essential aspect of the game of lacrosse. The game clock keeps the length of the game limited to the regulation rules and ensures that the game starts and ends on time. At the high school and collegiate level, a volunteer or neutral party contracted by the home team operates the game clock. At the professional level, the timekeeper is an official member of personnel. In this tutorial, we will learn the rules related to the game clock. Teams use the game clock to their advantage and strategize about time factors. For example, in a penalty kill situation, the defense will work to keep possession until the man down penalty time is over.
The game clock is set up on a table behind the substitution area on the sideline. The game clock must be visible to players on the field and personnel on the bench. In indoor lacrosse, the game clock is located outside the contained playing area. A timekeeper operates the game clock.
The timekeeper is responsible for tracking the time remaining in the half, as well as starts and stoppages on a digital clock. To signal the end of a period, the timekeeper blows an air horn. The timekeeper is also responsible for recording the remaining penalty time for non-releasable and releasable penalties and notifying the player in the penalty box when they are permitted to re-enter the field.
The game clock starts and stops whenever the official blows their whistle and at the end of each playing period. In certain instances, the official will use a slow whistle to allow the play to continue. A slow whistle in lacrosse is a when the referee withholds making a foul call against the defense to allow an advantageous scoring drive by the offense to continue. To indicate a slow whistle, the referee raises a yellow flag above his or her head.
There are two types of restarts:
A quick restart in lacrosse is when the team granted possession of the ball after a foul or turnover quickly resumes play. If there is a stoppage of play in the attack area, a quick restart is called. If a penalty is called against the defense inside the attack area, the attack must pass or run the ball outside the attack area before moving on goal.
A slow restart in lacrosse is when the game clock is stopped and a player is waiting for the official whistle to resume play. Slow restarts occur after a timeout, after a goal is scored and at the end of the period. On a slow restart, the official checks that no player is within five yards of the call carrier and that the field is set. Coaches prefer quick restarts because it does not allow the defense to get set up.