A starting lineup in sports is an official list of the set of players who will actively participate in the event when the game begins. The players in the starting lineup are commonly referred to as starters, whereas the others are substitutes or bench players.
The starters are commonly the best players on the team at their respective positions. Consequently, there is often a bit of prestige that is associated with being a starter. In both baseball and basketball, it is common for players' positions to be denoted by a number as well as by a name. In that instance, the associated number is used as well. If a common abbreviation is known, the abbreviation is listed after the associated number.
Starting lineup in specific sports 
American football 
In American football, a team starts with 11 players on offense, 11 players on defense, and a special teams squad of 11 players for punts, kickoffs, and extra point attempts. Very often most of the special teams players are starters or bench players for offense or defense. An example of this is Devin Hester of the Chicago Bears. He is their prime kick returner but also is a wide receiver.
- QB -- Quarterback
- RB -- Running back
- C -- Center
- LG, RG—Left and right guards on either side of the center
- LT, RT—Left and right tackles on either end of the five man offensive line
- TE -- Tight end
- WR -- Wide receiver—Teams can have up to five receivers on the field so long as there are no more than 11 offensive players.
Defense: Traditional football defense is the 4-3 (4 defensive linemen plus 3 linebackers) formation. However, the 3-4 (3 defensive linemen plus 4 linebackers) formation is becoming more popular among professional and NCAA Division I teams.
- DT—Depending on formation a team may have up to two defensive tackles. If there is only one he is called the Nose Tackle (NT)
- DE—A team has two defensive ends
- LB—A team can start three or four linebackers based on formation
- SS -- Strong safety
- FS -- Free safety
- CB—Teams usually start two cornerbacks
The National Football League counts how many times each player takes the first snap of the game. This statistic reflects offense and defense only, not special teams. (Every game starts with a kickoff, which would be a special teams play.) A player gets credited with only one start if he should happen to be on both the offensive and defensive starting lineups (as has happened several times in recent years with Troy Brown of the New England Patriots, who played both wide receiver and defensive back.) Yet, this is not the official starting lineup. The list of players to start the game is usually determined by the head coach of the franchise and not the league.
In American college football, the official record of the game includes a "Game Participation" chart which shows the starting lineups and the other participants. The starting lineups reflect the two teams' offenses and defenses, not the kickoff teams.
Association football 
The most common starting lineup in Association football is called 4-4-2 and consists of:
- A goalkeeper (GK)
- Four midfielders:
- Two strikers (ST)
Australian rules football 
In Australian rules football, a team starts with eighteen players on the field. The traditional positions are as listed below, however in modern football the players are organised into three main groups, forwards, midfielders and defenders, each consisting of between four and eight players. Only four midfielders from each team are allowed to start inside the centre square, the other 14 players can start anywhere on the field.
- Three forwards (one Full-forward, two Forward pocket)
- Three half forwards (one Centre half-forward, two Half-forward flank)
- Three centres (one Centre, two Wing-men)
- Three half backs (one Centre half-back, two Half-back flank)
- Three backs (one Fullback, two Back pocket)
- Three followers (one Ruckman, one Ruck rover, one Rover)
The starting lineup in baseball comprises either nine or ten players. In the National League of Major League Baseball and the Central League of Nippon Professional Baseball, there are nine players in the starting lineup and all players bat. American League (MLB) and Pacific League (NPB) teams have the option of using a designated hitter (DH) in place of the pitcher in the batting order. The DH does not play when the team is on defense.
- P - Pitcher
- C - Catcher
- 1B - First baseman
- 2B - Second baseman
- 3B - Third baseman
- SS - Shortstop
- LF - Left fielder
- CF - Center fielder
- RF - Right Fielder
- DH - Designated hitter
In the NBA, two starting players are traditionally announced as Guards, two as Forwards and one as a Center. However, technically the rules merely stipulate that a starting lineup, along with a list of substitutes, must be indicated at least ten minutes before the game. A captain and optionally a co-captain must also be designated. When pre-game technical fouls are committed, only designated starters can be chosen to shoot any resulting free throws. 
The various positions are not mentioned anywhere in the official NBA rule book, and most players play more than one position.
The starting lineup on a basketball team usually comprises five positions and is called the 2-1-2 lineup:
In American college basketball, a starting lineup is announced for each team before the game. Starting players are designated as either Centers, Forwards, or Guards. A team can name at most one center, but otherwise any combination of positions is allowable, as long as five players are named. Lineups of three guards, one forward, and one center, or of three guards and two forwards, are the most common alternate lineups.
Canadian football 
In Canadian football, a team starts with 12 players on offence, 12 players on defence, and a special teams squad of 12 players for punts, kickoffs, and extra point attempts. As in American football, most of the special teams players are starters or bench players for offence or defence.
Because of substantial differences between the two codes—most notably the larger field and only having three downs to advance the ball 10 yards instead of four—offensive formations are somewhat different in the Canadian game. Most notably, tight ends are almost completely absent in Canada.
- QB — Quarterback
- RB — Running back
- FB — Fullback; this position is more frequently seen in Canada than in the U.S.
- C — Centre
- LG, RG — Left and right guards on either side of the centre
- LT, RT — Left and right tackles on either end of the five-man offensive line
- SB — Slotback, a similar position to the wide receiver, but lines up closer to the interior linemen and just off the line of scrimmage.
- WR — Wide receiver; teams can have up to six receivers on the field so long as there are no more than 12 offensive players.
Defences are broadly similar to those in the U.S., with the extra player used as a defensive back. Since most of the positions are essentially identical to those in American football, only the main differences will be listed here.
- S — Safety, plays mainly deep pass support. Unlike the American game, only one safety is typically on the field at any given time, and even in formations with two safeties, there is little distinction between strong and free safeties.
- DH — Defensive halfback(s), generally assigned to cover the slotback(s) when in man-to-man coverage. Most formations will use two halfbacks.
- Special teams
Positions generally similar to those in the U.S.
 Gaelic football & hurling
Gaelic football and hurling, as well as ladies' Gaelic football and camogie, use the same starting lineup. Teams consist of one goalkeeper and fourteen outfield players (underage teams may play 13-a-side, omitting the full back and full forward positions). Teams lineup in six lines, with the goalkeeper furthest back and the full-forward line closest to the opposing team's goal. Players play on the left or right of the field looking in the direction they are attacking. Position numbering is fixed and positions are set up so that every attacker has a corresponding defender: for example, a right corner forward (jersey number 13) will be marked by a left corner back (4). Players sometimes swap positions during a match and there are sometimes tactical variations in formation, such as dropping one of the six forwards back to provide a third midfielder. Up to five substitutions are allowed during normal time (and another three if there is extra time), from a bench of 9 or sometimes 11 substitutions; substitutions are not numbered in any particular order.
- Goalkeeper (jersey number 1)
- Right corner back (2) -- full back (3) -- left corner back (4)
- Right half (or wing) back (5) -- centre back (6) -- left half back (7)
- Two midfielders (or centre-fielders) (8, 9)
- Right half (or wing) forward (10) -- centre (centre half) forward (11) -- left half forward (12)
- Right corner forward (13) -- full forward (14) -- left corner forward (15)
Hurling & camogie 
Ice hockey 
In ice hockey, a team starts out with six players on the ice:
The starting lineup in field lacrosse comprises ten players: 3 Attackmen, 3 Defensemen, 3 Midfielders, and 1 Goalkeeper. A team may start a Long-Stick Midfielder for a defensive advantage. A team may have a player reserved exclusively to take face-offs, known as a FOGO.
- A - Attackmen
- D - Defensemen
- M - Midfielder
- G - Goalkeeper
- LSM - Long-stick Midfielder
- FOGO - Face-Off Specialist "Face-Off, Get-Off"
In netball, a team starts with seven players on the court:
- GS - Goal shooter
- GA - Goal attack
- WA - Wing attack
- C - Centre
- WD - Wing defence
- GD - Goal defence
- GK - Goal keeper
Rugby League 
A Rugby league football starting lineups is
- 1 - Fullback
- 2 and 5 - Wingers
- 3 and 4 - Centres
- 6 - Stand-off
- 7 - Halfback
- 8 and 10 - Front row forwards
- 9 - Hooker
- 11 and 12 - Second row forwards
- 13 - Lock forward
Rugby Union 
Rugby union starting lineups consist of:
- Two Props - 1 (loosehead) and 3 (tighthead)
- Hooker - 2
- Two Locks - 4 and 5
- Two Flankers - 6 and 7
- Number Eight - 8
- Scrum-Half - 9
- Fly-Half - 10
- Two Wings - 11 and 14
- Two Centres - 12 and 13
- Fullback - 15
The starting lineup for a volleyball match typically includes:
- One setter
- Two outside hitters
- One opposite hitter
- Two middle blockers
Variations do exist - sometimes there will be two setters, or three outside hitters without a true opposite. Though the libero is typically announced with the starting lineup, he or she is not considered to be part of it, as the libero will replace one of the above players (typically the opposite, as teams will want their middle blockers to begin in the front row) before the first rally.
See also 
- "Starting Lineup Definition". Retrieved 2009-02-07.
- Gaelic Athletic Association: Official Guide, Part 2, Containing playing rules of hurling and football, Central Council of the Gaelic Athletic Association, July 2010, retrieved June 10, 2011