How to Play Lacrosse

Historically, lacrosse formed a unique part of many Native American tribes as a way to develop men and as a way to resolve conflicts. This game is literally centuries old and has stood the test of time as one of the most technically and physically demanding games ever developed. However, learning how to play lacrosse is a bit less challenging.

Today, lacrosse enjoys little public success but has remained at collegiate and club levels throughout North America as well as in Europe and Australia. It is still played at a divisional collegiate level by over 250 teams.

For newcomers, the sport may appear to be rather unusual and overwhelming to learn. However, with the proper equipment, a group of friends and practice, lacrosse can be a physically demanding yet enjoyable game to play.

Equipment Needed

The most well known symbol of lacrosse is the lacrosse stick. This stick features a long handle with a racket head that is used to maneuver the ball and help defenders ward off attacking plays.

To accompany the stick, you will need a lacrosse ball. You could always use an ordinary tennis ball but a true lacrosse ball has different dimensions. These balls are made out of solid rubber, weighing in at about 5 ounces.

Collegiate, club and league lacrosse matches are also played with pads, helmets and gloves. This is due to the fact that lacrosse is a contact sport and can be quite punishing on the body. In addition, being hit by the solid rubber lacrosse ball can be quite painful. However, when learning lacrosse and playing a casual game, pads and helmets aren’t necessarily needed.

Most of the lacrosse equipment can be purchased at any major sporting goods retailer.

Lacrosse Rules

How to Play Lacrosse

How to Play Lacrosse

Lacrosse rules dictate that a game is played with ten players per team. Each team features a goalie, three defenders, three midfielder and three attackers. The regulation size field is 110 yards by 60 yards. The field is divided up into a defensive, midfield and attacking area. The goals are placed in the center of the team’s defensive area.

True lacrosse games will have the field divided up into the aforementioned sections with visible lines. These lines are important because they help identify the rule of possession and off sides. Defenders and attackers must stay in their own respective areas until the midfielders have gained possession of the ball. Following that, defender and attackers can move where they please. However, teams are required to maintain 4 defensive players and 3 attacking players at all times. It does not matter who is playing defense or attacking so long as 4 and 3 are kept to prevent off sides from occurring.

Lacrosse Tips

More advanced players may be able to make use of these lacrosse tips. First, matches start with a face off in the center of the field. The goalie is allowed a crease to maneuver in. Defenders may also move in the crease but attackers are prohibited from entering.  Two types of legal checks are allowed in lacrosse. The stick check is designed to displace the attacker’s ability to keep possession. The stick can be used to hit the attacking player’s stick as long as the body is not being targeted. Additionally, body checks are allowed as long as they are between the waist and shoulder and never from behind.

Lacrosse Techniques

One of the unique and exciting aspects of lacrosse is the chance to use the stick as a pivotal part of the game. However, it can be harder than it looks to properly use the stick to pass if you’re not using the proper lacrosse techniques. Generate force by placing your throwing hand near the top of the stick and your weaker hand near the bottom handle. This allows you a lever motion that works in tandem with a wrist flick to create hard and accurate throws.

Lacrosse Catching

New players often try to cradle the ball into the stick as a method of catching the ball. Once you have gotten accustomed to the required hand eye coordination needed, try to keep a soft grip on your top hand in order to dissipate the incoming ball. This process is often a great deal more beneficial to the lacrosse player than keeping a firm grip and trying to cradle the ball.

Cradling or Dribbling

What dribbling is to basketball and soccer, cradling is to lacrosse. This is a great skill as it is needed to maneuver around opponents and ultimately create those goal bound opportunities. Cradling is done by taking advantage of centripetal or centrifugal force. For those who missed out on physics class, centripetal force is towards the center while centrifugal force is away from the center.

These two types of forces are manipulated by flexing the wrist as well as flexing and extending the forearms. This motion is best described as the top forearm performing a bicep curl while the wrist flexes or twists at the same time which keeps the lacrosse ball in the basket with the help of some basic physics.

Enjoying Lacrosse

Lacrosse is a team sport. So, it’s necessary to have at least a couple of friends around to learn lacrosse and practice together. After a few sessions, you will be able to get a sense of how the game is played and be able to enjoy all the aspects of lacrosse.

To learn more about playing lacrosse, check out:

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