A fun team sport
Lacrosse is a teamsport which is played on a field about the size of a field hockey or football field. Both teams exist out of 10 players. Each player has a stick with on a net on the end in which the ball is caught and from which the ball is passed to another player. The goal of the game is to score in a goal which earns you one point. The game is finished after 60 minutes of playtime. The goal resembles an ice hockey goal, but it’s slightly bigger. The ball is made from hard rubber and it’s about the size of a tennisball.
There are some big differences between men’s and women’s lacrosse, so much so that they are sometimes seen as two completely different sports.
Women’s lacrosse is in contrast to men’s lacrosse a no-contact sport. That means that there’s a lot less physical contact allowed and so women wear less protection. Women do have to wear a mouthguard and protective goggles for your eyes are highly recommended and are even mandatory at certain clubs in the Netherlands. You capture the ball by hitting the stick of your opponent in a controlled manner with your own stick. It’s not allowed to kick the ball on purpose. You also can’t cover the ball with your stick when it’s on the ground (this is called a cover) Besides these rules, there are a few fouls relating to dangerous play which have as a penalty a direct exit from the field, this includes hitting somebody’s head with your stick (check to the head).
Women’s lacrosse looks a lot like field hockey when looking at the movement across the whole field. However, in attack it looks a bit like handball, mostly because the attack is also set up around a semicircle before the goal.
Men’s lacrosse is a full-contact sport. This means that there’s a lot of physical contact allowed. This is why men play with extensive protective gear; all players are required to play with gloves and a helmet, a jockstrap is also strongly recommended for everyone. Other gear is also allowed, but what you wear depends on your personal preference and also on your position and role in the field. Midfielders and attackers wear standard shoulder, chest, and back protection and elbow protection. Some players also wear rib protection. Defenders usually only need chest and back protection, although some players don’t even wear these. Goalies are obligated to wear a jockstrap, chest protection, and a throat protector next to the standard gloves and helmet.
Attackers and midfielders often have short sticks with which they can shoot extremely fast. Defenders on the other hand have longer sticks for a bigger range. The goalie’s stick is a lot wider and deeper so it’s easier to stop more balls.
In contrast to women’s lacrosse men are allowed to kick the ball and cover it with their stick as long as they don’t withhold the bal from the game by putting the ball in their clothing or their pocket for example. Holding the ball in you hands is also not allowed. The game is quick and on tv it’s sometimes difficult to follow the ball. In an average game there are 10 to 15 goals.