What is Lacrosse Sport- Definition, History & 4 Types

Lacrosse Sport: History

Played by Native Americans since around the year 1000, the sport has managed to adapt to the times and modernize. Today’s Lacrosse sport is very different from its distant ancestor, but retains its main features.

This sport was practiced by the Iroquois tribes of the east coast of the American continent. Lacrosse was a religious and sacred practice, designed both to honor the gods, to train clans, and to mark important events in the lives of the different tribes that practiced it. In addition to the sacred virtues, Lacrosse has strengthened the team spirit and help in the growth and development of participants. In addition, the sport also had a peaceful vocation, as it was sometimes used by tribes to resolve their conflicts and thus avoid war!

These values are still very present in the current Lacrosse: team play, personal development and overcoming yourself, as well as fair play. Times have changed, but the spirit of Lacrosse is still with us!

This is also good, because over time the rules of the sport were softening. In Native American times, Lacrosse was played between teams of up to 100 people using bats and a stone ball. Lacrosse games can last for several days and the field can span several hundred meters

Lacrosse Sport: Definition


The current name of the sport comes from the French word “Crosse” in reference to the wooden pieces used to play. It was during the colonization of the territory of Canada that the French evangelists discovered lacrosse and named it so. After the anglicization of the continent, “Lacrosse” became “Lacrosse” in English for the working classes who began to take an interest in the sport. Today, with his return to the French language, we consider Lacrosse a masculine noun… Who knows why!

Now back to the evolution of the sport! Although it was disapproved of playing Lacrosse during the 18th century, the sport gained popularity during the 19th century until it became an elite sport. Now it was played by wealthy young people at American and Canadian colleges on the East Coast. After the modernization of the rules, lacrosse would make a brief appearance at the Olympic Games in the early twentieth century. Sport attracts players from all walks of life.

Today, the International Lacrosse Federation (FIL) is working with the International Olympic Committee to recognize Lacrosse as an Olympic discipline and put it back into the official program.

Lacrosse Sport: Types


Lacrosse Sport
credit – google images

Field Lacrosse or Field Lacrosse is the most popular version of Lacrosse. It mainly refers to male lacrosse, but in reality girls also play Field Lacrosse, as you’ll see in the section below.

Field Lacrosse is played with 20 players on the field or 10 players per team. Of these 10 players, there is a goalkeeper (goalkeeper), 3 defenders (defenders), 3 midfielders (midfielders) and 3 attackers (attackers). These can change at any time with a teammate, the replacement rule is similar to basketball or ice hockey. Therefore, during a Lacrosse match, each team can be made up of 23 players in total!


The goal of the sport is to win by scoring as many goals as possible in 80 minutes (4x20min). Lacrosse is practiced in a field 110 m long and 60 wide. It’s divided into several parts. In fact, during a normal phase of the game, the field consists of two zones: one attack and one defense. During the clash, it will be divided into three zones: attack, defense and midfield.

These areas are of fundamental importance, each team must keep a minimum number of players there. During the game, MUST put 3 players on the field in attack and 4 in defense; the other 3 playing in midfield. When a team takes possession, the field has only 2 zones and teams must keep 3 players in attack and 4 in defense. These rules are important because they will be used to determine out-of-game.

Why do teams always have to have a minimum number in the defensive and offensive zone? Because lacrosse’s absence system is similar to other American sports. In other words, players receive minutes of exclusions depending on the severity of the act committed. To prevent teams from canceling these, the rules ensure that there is always an advantage for the team that suffered the foul. This system also favors the speed of the game! Fewer players in the same area means more space and also faster increases. No for nothing, Lacrosse is considered one of the fastest sports in the world.

ALSO READ Basic Rules In Lacrosse Women

Male Lacrosse is also played with protections, it is a contact sport.

It is better to be protected to avoid bad shots and the following bruises! The rules of this game are very clear: no blows to the back or legs. As for the bat, it can be used to hit the opponent’s bat or his hands – and therefore make him lose the ball – but nowhere else! The referee will be happy to take you away for a whole minute, if not…A final clarification, there are three different forms of authorized sticks:- The goalkeeper’s bat: recognizable by its larger head and therefore more effective to stop the kicks- The defense stick: longer, puts more pressure on opposing players. However, it has a standard head. – Middi/attack cue: short with standard head, allows players to sneak into the opponent’s defense while keeping the ball.


women lacrosse

Women’s Lacrosse is almost a sport in its alone!

lacrosse box
credit- google images

Although it is played with a bat and a Lacrosse ball. The rules have been adapted in such a way that it is sometimes difficult for people to navigate. Men and women must explain the rules to each other to understand the stages of the game in progress… really! The most striking example is undoubtedly the duration of a women’s match that includes only two periods of 30 minutes (60 minutes in total).


the women’s lacrosse is played with 24 people on the pitch. Each team can put 24 players, including 12 on the pitch: 1 goalkeeper (goalkeeper), 3 defenders (defenders), 5 midfielders (midfielders) and 3 attackers (attackers). Players can change at any time and must also keep a minimum of 3 players on each part of the field. The difference is that zones are defined by the “containment line”. That is, the defense can rise 2/3 of the field or vice versa to the offense, depending on whether your team is attacking or defending.


the women’s Lacrosse adopted a more “European” penalty system: yellow card and red card. Players still have a 2-minute suspension time per yellow card. But from the second – or red card – they will be permanently excluded from the match. The team can, however, continue playing at 12 on the ground because the penalty here is individual. The cards remain quite rare facts of the game. And the referees preferring to suspend the game either to change possession or to offer a “shot on goal”.

The Female Lacrosse has few contacts, but it is still physical! The protections consist of Goggles and a mouth guard. Recently, a helmet was created for the female Lacrosse, but this is controversial. Some professionals believe that this will make the sport more violent and therefore cause more injuries rather than soften them.

To conclude, a brief word on the history of female Lacrosse. The first known match dates back to 1890 and took place in Scotland! Although it was normal in Native American times to see women participating in sports, this tradition was lost with the Christianization of the continent and the bad image of women playing sports. It will therefore be necessary to wait a while for customs to evolve and allow women to resume the practice of Lacrosse! The current rules were greatly modified in the 2000s and today, female Lacrosse is as successful as the male one.


credit – google images

Box Lacrosse is summer ice hockey. It is practiced on thawed ice rinks (preferably with Plexiglas protection).Players are much less numerous due to the restricted dimensions of the field. They play 6 on the field: 1 goalkeeper and 5 runners. Runners run from side to side of the field, depending on which team has possession. As in Field Lacrosse, substitutions are not restricted; players change according to their tiredness or their preference for attack or defense.

Fouls are also penalized by suspension time, but in Box Lacrosse the rules are more flexible. The contacts are even more violent, but that’s part of the spirit of the sport. Like Ice Hockey, Box Lacrosse is a show; should provide your share of emotions to the public!

Box Lacrosse is also less popular than Field Lacrosse, the main nations practicing it are those that already have a strong Ice Hockey culture. However, sport tends to develop and become popular depending on existing infrastructure.


Intercrosse is a contactless modified version of lacrosse sports. The sport is also known as soft stick lacrosse, soft cross, modcrosse or pop lacrosse. The contactless nature of the sport allows it to be used at a development level to transition players to lacrosse. This sport is popular in parts of Europe and Canada.

The Intercrosse is played with equipment similar to lacrosse. But with slight changes in the clubs (with plastic head) and in the ball used (soft, large and hollow).

The sport is practiced both on the court and on a 40m x 20m court, with five players per team. The beacon posts used are the same size as for the interior lacrosse. The number of players and the duration of the game are the same as the lacrosse sports.

As the sport is contactless in nature, different rules apply in different tournaments to facilitate changes of ownership. Some examples are: players cannot hold the ball for more than five seconds or set a minimum number of passes before kicking at goal.

Intercrosse tournaments, held as part of the annual World Games, are international competitions at the highest level in this sport. Another major international tournament in this sport is the biennial World Championships, in which several countries participate.

ALSO READ Basic Rules In Lacrosse Men

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