As the oldest organized sport in North America, lacrosse has a rich history to explore and is rapidly growing in popularity at high school and collegiate levels. In contrast to other contact team sports, lacrosse is a game of coordination and agility: a player’s quickness and speed are often more highly prized than brawn.
Lacrosse is played with a lacrosse stick and a ball, and play feels like a combination of basketball, soccer, and hockey. The four versions of the sport include field lacrosse, women’s lacrosse, box lacrosse, and intercrosse, which have individual rules of play. With all these variations of lacrosse, anyone can play this sport, no matter how big or small!
National Lacrosse Day is September 18, and Play it Again Sports ~ Brentwood and Hendersonville invite you to celebrate by learning more about this high-energy sport:
Why do they call it Lacrosse?
French missionaries traveling in Quebec first observed Native Americans playing a form of the game in the early 1600s. The sticks used by players appeared to the missionaries much like the bishop’s cross carried during Christian religious ceremonies, and they called it “la crosse” meaning “the stick” in French.
Is Women’s Lacrosse Harder?
Both men and women play lacrosse, and you might be surprised that women’s lacrosse is considered more challenging! The rules of lacrosse for girls dictate less physical contact, requiring more skill to make legal plays and defend properly. Girls still endure pushing, so they have to be able to cradle the ball with little to no pocket while still being pushed a significant amount.
Checking is also very different in women’s lacrosse than men’s. Women may only check using the side of their stick and must direct the check away from the ball carrier’s head. Due to the fact that women do not wear helmets, this essential rule difference makes the sport safer.
Many believe that the lack of physical contact in the women’s version of the game makes it easier to play, but clearly, women’s lacrosse has unique rule differences that make it more challenging. However, because of this belief, women’s lacrosse games still receive far fewer spectators than men’s games.
Scoring in Lacrosse
In lacrosse, only the goalkeepers can use their hands to touch the ball, so players score goals by shooting the ball with their lacrosse stick into the opposing team’s goal. Each goal is worth one point in high school and collegiate lacrosse, though professional play has a 2-point scoring line on the field.
A goal is certainly worth a celebration, and lacrosse players really go for it with the famed “lax celly.” Many players bring personalized flair to their celly, both on and off the field!
There are personal fouls and technical fouls in lacrosse that can affect scoring and the field of play. For example, there are forms of acceptable hits and checking in every variation of lacrosse and specific instances that are considered illegal. Examples of illegal hits include:
- Raising your arms upon contact or striking a player above his collarbone
- Hitting a player from behind
- Making bodily contact with your stick, hits must target the hand or the stick
Lacrosse Slang Terms You Should Know
Every sport has its own insider vocabulary, and lacrosse is no different. Here are some of the more colorful terms you’ll find in lacrosse!
- Wolf! When you hear this in lacrosse, it means, “Run faster! A man is chasing you down from behind,” like a pack of wolves. It is quick, one syllable, and you can yell it out easily, even if you are out of breath.
- Rip the Duck This term is used before a shot. It can describe what you are about to do or what you want someone to do.
- Duck Sauce This term is used after a play like a goal or a sweet check. It will give extra to the play, like an exclamation point!
- Hot Right, Hot Left! Use this term on defense to communicate which player is on the first slide. For example, an adjacent defender tells the on-ball defender she is “hot right.”
- Yellow In lacrosse, “yellow” is commonly used to tell the offense to slow down while the team subs its middies through the box.
- Lettuce A fun term used for long hair that flows out the back of a lacrosse player’s helmet
- Cherry Picker When a player stays in open space in their attacking half while their side is defending, hoping for a long pass from the defense in the event of a turnover.
- Bear! When someone shouts, “Bear!” it means, “There’s a man coming at you from the front, so get your eyes up and move to avoid the collision.”
- Cutting An offensive play in which one player passes the ball to a cutting teammate for a “quick stick” shot on goal.
Each variation of lacrosse has its own rules and equipment. Even the color of the ball used will differ! You’ll typically see a white ball at a men’s game and a yellow ball at a women’s game. Additional colors, like orange or green balls, can come into play if both coaches agree to use a unique color for the day’s game.
A lacrosse ball can live a long life if cared for properly! To keep your lacrosse ball in playing condition, clean it every two or three uses. Most lacrosse balls can be washed on the top rack of a dishwasher, or you can soak them in soapy water for 20 to 40 minutes and rinse them with cool water. Always let lacrosse balls air dry.
Play Like a Champion this Fall at Play it Again Sports ~ Brentwood and Hendersonville
A great season starts with great gear. Make a solid play and shop all the equipment you need for this coming lacrosse season at Play it Again Sports ~ Brentwood and Hendersonville. They’ve got 10% Off All Lacrosse Gear & Equipment this September 1 – 30, including high-quality lacrosse helmets, sticks, pads, and gloves.
With two convenient locations in the greater Nashville area, Play It Again Sports ~ Brentwood & Hendersonville are the best spots to purchase and recycle your high-quality sports gear, so you’re all set for any game you love to play!
Have a question for Play It Again Sports ~ Hendersonville, fill out the form below: