If your child shows an interest in lacrosse, ensuring that he or she has a positive lacrosse experience should be your main goal as a parent. Your support and encouragement will be essential, and to best support your child, you’ll need to learn as much as possible about the game. From the basic rules to the lacrosse gear they’ll needs, this guide will give you the information needed to help your child have an exciting, safe time while engaging in this sport.
History of the Game
Lacrosse originated with the American Indians, starting as a male team sport. While the rules varied among various tribes, the one rule that was observed by all was that the hands could not touch the ball. The lacrosse stick used varied between southeastern, northeastern and Great Lakes tribes. For example, the Great Lakes tribes, such as the Santee Dakota and Potawatomi, used a stick that was three-feet long, while southeastern tribes used two sticks that were two-and-a-half feet long. Not only did American Indians use the game recreationally, but the games were also surrounded in ceremonialism. Today, lacrosse continues to grow in popularity, growing faster than any other sport in the United States.
As your child continues to play lacrosse, you’ll undoubtedly learn more about the game. However, for now you need to know the basic rules. Played by two teams, each team has 10 players, although girl’s lacrosse teams have 12 players. Players work to get the ball into the opposing team’s goal, and the team scoring the most goals by the end of the game, wins. Youth games generally last 40 minutes, high-school games last 48 minutes and collegiate games last 60 minutes (although the time differs for girl’s lacrosse).
During play, players use crosses to pass, catch, and run with the lacrosse ball. The goalie is the only player allowed to touch the ball with his hands. Body checking and stick checking both are used to try to obtain the ball. However, personal fouls may be called if body checks or stick checks are used inappropriately.
Field positions vary between boy’s and girl’s lacrosse. Field positions for a boy’s lacrosse team include a goalie, three defense players, three midfielder’s and three attack players. The goalie must prevent the other team from scoring, protecting the goal at all times. Defense players help defend the goal and the goalie. Midfielders play defense and offense, playing the entire field, which requires stamina and speed. The attack position involves scoring goals and working with the other attack and midfield players to pass the ball to score goals.
Girl’s lacrosse teams, on the other hand, have 12 players and teams include both attack and defense positions. Attack positions include a first home, second home, third home and two attack wings. The first home works to score, the second home must be able to shoot from all distances and angles and the third home helps to transition the lacrosse ball from defense players to attack players. The two attack wings also help with ball transition, which requires endurance and speed. Defense positions include point, coverpoint, third man, center, two defense wings and a goalkeeper. The point player helps to intercept passes while stick checking opposing players. The coverpoint needs speed and great footwork to receive clears. The third man works to clear the ball and intercept passes. The center plays attack and defense, and the defense wings work to bring the ball out of the defense area and to the attack area. Goalkeepers require confidence and great stick work, protecting the goal from the opposing team.
Essential Lacrosse Equipment
Lacrosse gear must be worn while playing the game. Boys require a lacrosse stick, a helmet, protective cup, gloves, shoulder pads, cleats, a mouth guard and arm pads. Optional equipment includes protective chest pads, helmet addons and protective rib pads. Goalies will also require goal-tending equipment.
Equipment requirement for girls is a bit different. Girls are required to have a mouth guard, a lacrosse stick, protective goggles and cleats. Shoulder pads, arm pads and gloves aren’t required, but they are recommended.
Lacrosse offers an excellent way for your child to stay fit and enjoy the benefits of playing a team sport. However, without your support, it will be difficult for your child to succeed. Keep the basics in mind and continue learning more about the sport, providing the encouragement your child needs to have an excellent experience.