What is Lacrosse?

lacrosse

Lacrosse is a team sport that is played with a lacrosse stick and lacrosse ball. As a game that was played by Native Americans all the way back to the 1600s, it is considered to be the oldest organized sport in North America.

Players in lacrosse use the head of a lacrosse stick to carry, pass, catch, and shoot the ball into the goal. It is a sport for both men and women, although there are slightly different rules for each gender. It is among the most popular youth sports in the country, and has seen a large growth in popularity over the past decade.


History

Lacrosse History

Lacrosse is one of the varieties of stick ball games that were played by American Indians at the time of European contact. Because of how early on the game was being played (all the way to the 1600s) we don't know the precise history of the sport. It was most popular on the eastern half of North America by tribes in the southeast and Great Lakes areas. The sport of lacrosse was given its name by early French settlers. They used the generic term for any game played with a curved stick (crosse) and a ball.

Playing Surface

Lacrosse Field

The surface of a lacrosse field is typically turf, but it can be played on grass as well. For lacrosse players, turf is typically the preference because the flat surface will keep the ball in control. A regulation men's and women's unified lacrosse field is typically 110 yards long with around 53 to 60 yards in between the sideline. An NCAA men's field requires a 60 yard width between the sidelines and 110 yards in length. An NCAA women's lacrosse field can be between 110 and 120 yards long with a width of 60 to 70 yards.

Equipment

Lacrosse Equipment

Lacrosse is a sport that is very fast paced and involves a lot of physical contact. Therefore, there is a large amount of equipment you will need to protect yourself from injuries. Helmets are a requirement to wear for all men's lacrosse players, whereas women are required to wear goggles, since they do not get in as many collisions. Cleats are another piece of equipment that athletes will need in order to perform at a high level. Players will also need gloves that will protect the fingers, hands, and wrists, while still allowing the hands to move freely and hold the stick. Most importantly, players will need a stick. The stick will vary in size and style depending on what position you are playing, as offensive players typically have smaller sticks than the defensive players.

Gameplay

Lacrosse Gameplay

A lacrosse game has a duration of four quarters, each of them being 12 minutes long. On the field there are ten players for each team. Four of them must stay on the defensive half, three must stay on the offensive half, and three of them can go anywhere on the field. The game starts with a face-off between two players on each team.

Positions and Roles

In lacrosse, there are four main player positions on a team: defenseman, midfielder, attackman, and goalkeeper.

Defender

A defender's main priority is to protect their goal. Working with the goalie, defenders make sure the opponent does not score. Defenders use longer sticks to allow them to block or deflect passes and shots.

Midfielder

Midfielders play all over the lacrosse field. Because they play both offense and defense, a good midfielder needs speed and endurance. Transition is one of the most important tasks for a midfielder, as they need to be able to move from defense to offense to create an advantage.

Attacker

The main priority of an attacker in lacrosse is to score goals. Each lacrosse team will have three attackers, and they will always stay on the offensive side of the field. These players must have superior skills in passing, faking, and other moves to get a clear shot of the goal.

Goalkeeper

The goalkeeper can be considered the most important player in the sport. They are the last line of defense and need to keep the opponent from scoring. A goalie must have superb hand-eye coordination and very quick hands. A goalie also needs to be tough, as they will be hit by the ball at really high speeds during a game.

Rules and Regulations

Lacrosse Rules and Regulations

In lacrosse, there are plenty of rules and regulations that must be followed. The rules in lacrosse range from the equipment that is being worn all the way to penalties. While there are some rules that vary depending on the league, the majority of the core rules stay the same.

Fouls: Fouls can include tripping, cross checking, slashing, or any other kind of unnecessary roughness. When a player commits a foul, they will be put in the penalty area for 1 to 3 minutes. A player is removed from the game if five personal fouls are committed.

Offsides: Midfielders are the only players who can enter any area of the field. Attackmen and defensemen must always stay on their side of the field to prevent offside, the team must always have four players on each side of the field.

Face-Off: A face-off will start every lacrosse game, and there will also be one when there is a scoring play. In a face-off, two players stand with their hands and feet to the ground with the sticks laying in front of them. When the whistle blows they will fight to gain position of the ball.

Crease Violation: Attackmen can not step on or within the goalie's crease until the ball goes into the net. This will not pertain to an offensive player being pushed by the defense. The team will be penalized with losing possession of the ball if this happens.

Referees and Officials

Lacrosse Referees and Officials

In a lacrosse game there are two or three refs working on the field. Officials need to understand the game and communicate with each other through verbal and hand signals. Officials are also responsible for checking legal equipment, tracking and approving the score, and keeping an eye out for infractions, illegal contact, and unsportsmanlike behavior.

Lingo and Terminology

Lacrosse Lingo and Terminology

Lacrosse has a large amount of slang terms that are used for the sport that may come across as confusing if you are not familiar with the sport. Below is a list of some terms that can give you a headstart on talking like a veteran.

  • Cradling: Rocking the stick back and forth to create a force that will keep the ball in the pocket.
  • FOGO: A term for a player who takes a face-off then runs off the field as soon as possible. Stands for face-off, get off.
  • Goose: When a player uses the stick to knock a ground ball to a teammate rather than picking it up.
  • Top Shelf: The upper area of the goal below the crossbar.
  • Gilman: When a defensive player throws the ball as far as possible to the offensive end of the field instead of passing the ball to a teammate.
  • Flow: Long hair that flows out of the helmet. Very popular hairstyle among lacrosse players.

Coaching

Lacrosse Coaching

A lacrosse coach is a vital part of the team and is crucial in helping the players improve and find success. At a young age, the coach is responsible for teaching the players the basic fundamentals of the game and emphasizing the importance of fun. At the higher levels, the coach is responsible for strategizing and helping the team perform at the best of their abilities.

It is very important for coaches to develop trust with their players. A coach's relationship with his or her players is a very important part of the team finding success. They do not need to be best friends with their coach, but the players must have respect for their coach if they are going to find success. Coaches also come up with drills for practice in order to develop and improve the players. During these practices, they also come up with gameplans on how they can win their upcoming games. Without a good coach, a lacrosse team is going to be lost and unsuccessful.

Skills and Techniques

Lacrosse Skills and Techniques

A good lacrosse player has a lot of skills and experience that allows him or her to be successful. Lacrosse players are fast, strong, and have great hand-eye coordination. Basic skills of lacrosse include scooping, passing, catching, cradling, and shooting. Along with that, lacrosse is a very physical sport that requires an understanding of checking and dodging techniques. It is extremely important for a lacrosse player to practice these skills to a point where he or she will master them. This will lead to a more rewarding playing experience and an overall more successful lacrosse career.

Strategy

Lacrosse Strategy

In lacrosse there are offensive and defensive for different situations. Some of these situations include settled, unsettled, and powerplay. A settled situation is when all the players are prepared where being unsettled means there is a quick change in possession.

On the offensive side, a common settled offense is called a 2-3-1. This offense is formed with 2 midfielders at the top of the field, a second line in front of the net with two attackers on the wings and a midfielder in the middle, and finally a third attacker just behind the goal. These players pass the ball around or run in triangles to confuse the defense. There are some strategies that give the offense more strength, but will leave a risk if they lose the ball to a fast break.

On defense, teams typically play man to man defense where each player is assigned an offensive player to cover. There is also zone defense, where each defensive player is assigned an area or zone where to cover.

Drills

Lacrosse Drills

In order to develop more skill and to find success as a team overall. It is important to partake in lacrosse drills to improve your game. For each skill that comes with lacrosse, there are multiple drills that will help you improve those skills. On the defensive side, you can practice wall ball drills or keep away drills such as "monkey in the middle."

A great drill for offense that will improve passing is when a player and partner run down the field parallel to one another passing back and forth to each other. The most effective shooting drill is probably the run, dodge, and shoot on the goal. This will allow the attackmen to improve his dodging skills, while he can practice lefty and righty shots. Along with these drills, all lacrosse players regardless of position they play should take part in speed and agility drills.

Olympic Lacrosse

olympic lacrosse

Lacrosse has been an Olympic sport five times. It was an official sport in the 1904 and 1908 Olympics, but was relegated to a demonstration sport in 1928, 1932, and 1948. World lacrosse is hoping to grow its membership by 60 percent in the next five years, and hopefully return as an Olympic sport in 2028. This will face a lot of challenges, as it will be difficult to modify the squad sizes and revise rules of play. Along with that, the spread of global popularity is far from reach at the moment.

Lacrosse Brands

Lacrosse Brands

When it comes to sports like lacrosse, it is important to have high quality equipment. It is important to be aware of brands that make equipment that will keep you safe and perform at a high level. Below is a list of some great brands that sell lacrosse equipment.

  • Nike
  • Cascade
  • STX
  • Maverik

Youth Organizations

Lacrosse Youth Organizations

At a young age, it is important to get yourself involved with youth organizations. A youth organization will help develop skills and character that is vital for a young player. In just about any area, there are youth camps and programs that are available.

Metro Lacrosse: Represents 120 schools and has 92% black or hispanic participants. Does a great job in promoting diversification in the sport.

Tri-City: Premier lacrosse for upstate New York. Has age groups from kids as young as 4-8 teaches them the basics of the sport.

Atlantic Lacrosse: Devoted to showing the game of lacrosse to new players and helping experienced players enjoy the game to its fullest.

Lacrosse Coaches

Lacrosse Coaches

As mentioned above, a lacrosse coach plays an integral role in a team's success. Here are some successful coaches in the history of the sport.

COACHTEAM
Dom StarsiaUniversity of Virginia, Chrome Lacrosse Club
Dave CottleChesapeake Bayhawks
Bill TierneyUniversity of Denver
John DeskoSyracuse University
Acacia WalkerBoston College
Ann ElliotColorado

Lacrosse Players

Lacrosse Players

Right now, there are a large number of talented lacrosse players who play in a variety of different leagues. Here are some of the best current players along with the team they play for.

NAMELEAGUETEAM
Trevor BaptistePremier Lacrosse LeagueAtlas
Zach CurrierMajor League LacrosseDenver Outlaws
Connor FieldsPremier Lacrosse LeagueChaos
Marcus HolmanPremier Lacrosse LeagueArchers
Rob PannellMajor League LacrosseNew York Lizards
Randy StaatsMajor League LacrosseAtlanta Blaze
Matt RamboPremier Lacrosse LeagueWhipsnakes
Lyle ThompsonMajor League LacrosseChesapeake Bayhawks
Tom SchreiberPremier Lacrosse LeagueArchers

Lacrosse Leagues

Lacrosse Leagues

Lacrosse is a sport that has yet to have a professional league dominate the sport like baseball, football, and basketball. Because of this, they have more professional leagues in the country than other sports might, as there are currently five professional leagues operating in North America. College teams often play through the NCAA, and there are youth leagues that will not be difficult to find all over the country.

  • Premier Lacrosse League
  • National Lacrosse League
  • NCAA Lacrosse
  • Women's Professional Lacrosse League
  • Major League Lacrosse

Lacrosse Teams

Lacrosse Teams

All over the country there are lacrosse teams that represent different leagues. The NLL has 13 teams, the PLL has 7 teams, and the MLL has 6 teams. Below is a list of each team in these Major Leagues.

Premier Lacrosse League: Archers Lacrosse Club, Atlas Lacrosse Club, Chaos Lacrosse Club, Chrome Lacrosse Club, Redwoods Lacrosse Club, Whipsnakes Lacrosse Club, Waterdogs Lacrosse Club

National Lacrosse League: Buffalo Bandits, Halifax Thunderbirds, Rochester Knighthawks, Toronto Rock, Georgia Storm, New England Wolves, New York Riptide, Philadelphia Wings, Calgary Roughnecks, Colorado Mammoth, San Diego Seals, Saskatchewan Rush, Vancouver Warriors

Major League Lacrosse: Boston Cannons, Chesapeake Bayhawks, Connecticut Hammerheads, Denver Outlaws, New York Lizards, Philadelphia Barrage

Lacrosse Events

Lacrosse Events

Whether it is a game, fan fest, or tournament, there are plenty of lacrosse events that take place year round that are great for the whole family to enjoy. While lacrosse might not have the professional prevents that other American sports have, their NCAA programs are among the top in the country, and if there are lacrosse fans in your family, going to those games would be a great idea. Along with that, the Premier Lacrosse League is also showing lots of promise after only one year, meaning they will be holding numerous fan fest and other events that will help them grow in popularity.

Lacrosse Tournaments

Lacrosse Tournaments

There are youth organizations all around the country that organize tournaments. For a youth team, lacrosse teams are really fun and exciting opportunities to play against different teams and face new challenges. Outside of youth lacrosse, there is also the NCAA tournament, which is arguably the most popular tournament in lacrosse that gets the most media coverage. Similar to March Madness in basketball, there is a single elimination tournament and the last team standing is deemed national champions.

  • NCAA Tournament
  • Best of the Beach
  • Capital City Lax Festival

Lacrosse Books

Lacrosse Books

Lacrosse has a variety of different books that do a great job in teaching you about the game. There are books that can teach you technique and strategy, give you tips on how to coach, or give you an overall history of the sport. Below are some of the most popular lacrosse books that have been written.

NAMEAUTHOR(S)
The Best of Road Trip DadDan Witmer
Men's Lacrosse in MarylandTom Flynn
Lacrosse EssentialsJack Kaley and Richard Donavan
Lacrosse Legends of the First AmericasThomas Vennum
The Beast in the CreaseFritz Hoffecker
Weekend WarriorsJack McDermott
Women's LacrosseJanine Tucker and Maryalice Yakutchik

Lacrosse Websites

Lacrosse Websites

In today's world, just about all the information you can get will be available on the internet, and lacrosse is no exception. When it comes to scores, articles, videos, rankings, and more, there is a website that can provide you with the lacrosse related information you are looking for.

NAMETYPE
Lax.comApparel, equipment, highlights
Lacrossemonkey.comEquipment
Insidelacrosse.comNews, scores, analysis
Universallacrosse.comEquipment

FAQ

What is lacrosse?

Lacrosse is a team game originated by North American indians, where a ball is thrown, caught, and carried with a long-handled stick having a curved frame that holds the ball in place.

How dangerous is lacrosse?

Like most contact sports, lacrosse certainly comes with some moderate risks. The majority of the injuries that come are minor bruises, strains, and sprains. While significant injuries are still possible, lacrosse players typically find themselves safe when they have the proper equipment.

Is Lacrosse hard to learn?

Lacrosse is a relatively easy sport to get the hang of. The biggest thing is understanding the rules. Once the knowledge for the game is acquired, the skills will also develop over time.

The United States is by far where Lacrosse is most popular. States such as New Jersey, North Carolina, California, and other northeast states have an extremely large popularity for lacrosse.

What are the rules of lacrosse?

A couple basic rules of lacrosse include:

  • Only 10 players are allowed on the field
  • Each goal is worth 1 point
  • A lacrosse ball may not be touched by a players hand except by the goalie
  • No opposing players may make contact with the goalie