Lacrosse Rules, History, Tips & Equipment

A history of Lacrosse, how to play, tips for improvement & necessary equipment

How to Play Lacrosse

Lacrosse is a team sport, played with a rubber ball, and a long-handled racquet. The objective of lacrosse is to advance the ball up the field by passing or running with it, and shooting it into the opponents goal.

Lacrosse History

Lacrosse was first played by the Native Americans, specifically the Algonquian. The game was used as part of religious ritual, to resolve conflicts, heal the sick, develop strong men, and prepare for war. The first lacrosse games are thought to have taken place in the 12th century. These games consisted of teams composed of 100 to 1000 men. In 1637, Jean de Brebeuf, a French Jesuit missionary, was the first European to write about the game. He named the game lacrosse. The rules for lacrosse were refined in Montreal, Canada in 1867, by Dr. William George Beers. In the United States, lacrosse has primarily been played in Maryland, New England, upstate New York, Long Island, and Mid-Atlantic states. In recent years the sport has spread to other states. Today, lacrosse is played at the high school, college, and professional level.

Lacrosse Rules

Lacrosse is played by two teams of ten players to a side, on a grassy field 110 yards long and 60 yards wide. The field is split in halve by a center line. On either end of the field stands a six ft by six ft goal. The goals sit in a circular "crease," 18 ft in diameter. An attacking player cannot enter the crease around the goal, but they can use their stick to scoop a loose ball. A player scores by throwing the ball into their opponent's goal. The team with the most goals after four 12-15 minute quarters wins.

Each team is composed of: One goalkeeper and three defensemen that must stay on the defensive side; Three attackmen that must stay on the offensive side; Three midfielders who can roam the field freely.

At the beginning of each quarter, and after a goal is scored, play is started by a face-off at midfield. When the ball goes out-of-bounds possessions goes to the team that did not touch it last. Similar to hockey, teams can substitute players in and out freely. Substitutions need to occur in the designated area.

When a player receives a penalty they must go to the penalty box and their team plays down a player. Penalties are usually 30 to 60 seconds. For example, off sides, when there are more than three midfielders and three defenseman or more than three midfielders and three attackmen on one side, results in a 30 second penalty.

Players may advance the ball up field by running with the ball in their crosse (net pocket of their stick), or by passing and catching the ball. Only the goalkeeper may touch the ball with his hands. A player can gain possession of the ball by hitting it from an opponent's crosse with their stick. They are allowed to poke and slap at the stick and glove hands of the player with the ball. In men's lacrosse, a player is permitted to body check an opposing player who has the ball. All contact must be from the front or side, above the waist and below the shoulders.

Lacrosse Tips

Stick handling is a key skill in lacrosse. Players should practice passing and catching on the run, and scooping the ball off the ground.

Lacrosse Equipment

Lacrosse requires each player to have a lacrosse stick, gloves, shoulder pads, a helmet, arm pads, and a protective cup. The game is played with a solid rubber ball 7.75 to 8 inches in circumference and weighs 5 to 5.25 ounces.