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What is Lacrosse?

Lacrosse is a team sport where the objective is to score a goal into the opponent’s goal or net.  Players use a specialized lacrosse stick to pass the ball to teammates or to shoot the ball. The history of the game is based on ancient ceremonial ballgames played by Native American communities near the 1100s AD.

Lacrosse can be divided into four types: field lacrosse, women’s lacrosse, box lacrosse and intercrosse. Each variant of the sport has subtle differences in their rules, playing space, and equipment. For example, field lacrosse, women lacrosse and intercrosse are played outdoors, while box lacrosse is played indoors. In women’s lacrosse, players only wear eyegear for head protection.

How to Participate

Several leagues, communities and clubs offer the opportunity to play at several levels outside of high school. Recently, the popularity of the game has exploded with many teams being formed at the high school level. Lacrosse is typically offered as a spring sport.

For more competitive players and fans, collegiate NCAA DI lacrosse and professional Major League Lacrosse offer the highest level of play. Many of the top collegiate teams preside along the Mid-Atlantic coast such as Johns Hopkins, Princeton, and Syracuse.

As a beginner, learning how to pass and catch a lacrosse ball is a challenging but essential skill to practice. Equally important is learning how to sprint while carrying the ball in your stick, also known as cradling. These skills can be practiced individually or with a partner, while joining a team will introduce you the basic rules and strategy of the sport.

Rules of Lacrosse

The major concept of the sport is the same for all types of lacrosse. The general rules for lacrosse are:

  • A player must not score a goal inside the “crease” that surrounds the goal.
  • The game takes place on four quarters of 20 minutes each. Team timeouts are allowed and can be called by either side.
  • There can only be four long sticks per team. The rest must carry short sticks.
  • Infringements made by players are punished by being sent to the timeout box for usually 30 seconds.
  • Games start with a face off, with each player laying their sticks horizontally on each side of the ball, after which they battle for possession of it.

However, there are some significant rule differences between the variants. Most importantly, field lacrosse and box lacrosse allow contact, while women’s lacrosse and intercrosse do not. In box lacrosse, there are fewer rules for when a ball goes out of bounds, since play is usually confined to the indoor arena.

Where to Play Lacrosse

The sport of lacrosse is played predominantly across North America, within Canada and the United States historically. However, small communities which practice the sport are growing internationally in regions such as the United Kingdom and Australia.

Field lacrosse is the most popular version of the sport, so lacrosse is most often played on specialized outdoor fields. However, box lacrosse is played indoors and offers versatility to the playing fields and style of the game.

Basic Lacrosse Equipment

  • Lacrosse stick
  • Lacrosse ball
  • Helmet (Men’s) / Goggles (Women’s)
  • Shoulder pads / elbow pads


History of Lacrosse

Drills and Technique

Major League Lacrosse