Monday, September 5, 2016

Women's Lacrosse: A Basic Introduction to the Game



Women's lacrosse is an exciting game both to watch and to play. Because ball possession is integral to winning, both individual skill and team effort are important. Here is a basic introduction to the game:

Rules and Fouls
Like most ball games, the team with the most goals wins. Here are the basic rules:
  • Games start with a draw between two opposing team players at the center of the field.
  •  Play consists of teams passing or cradling the ball while running toward the goal.
  • Teams gain possession by intercepting, retrieving ground balls, capturing (checking) balls from an opponent's stick, or blocking a shot or pass.
  •  Athletes can only use stick-to-stick contact. Stick to body and body to body contact is illegal.
  •  Players must stand immediately when the official's whistle is blown.
  •  If the ball goes out of bounds, the team that touched the ball last loses possession. Off of a shot, the possession goes to the closest player to where the ball goes out.    
  •  Fouls are called for illegal stick use, illegal equipment, illegal field position, or taking a dangerous shot.
Field
Originally, women's lacrosse field size was unlimited. However, in 2006, women's lacrosse adopted regulation fields which are somewhat similar to  to a regulation soccer field.  There is a restraining line (30 yards infield from each goal line) which limits each team to 7 field players to engage in settled play. Defense is allowed 7 field players and a goalie between the restraining line and their defensive endline.

Positions
A women's lacrosse team has 11 field players and one goalie. A team must have five players behind the restraining line when the ball is in their offensive end (this includes the goalie), and must have four players behind the restraining line when the ball is in their defensive end. On the draw, only three players are able to be on the circle, between the two restraining lines. This includes 1 person from each team taking the draw and two people from each team on the outside of the circle. Field players are usually divided into:
  •  4 players on attack
  • 4 players on defense
  • 3 players in midfield
Equipment

In addition to needing the right pair of lacrosse cleats for fast action on the field, players need sticks, goggles, mouthguards, and balls.

Sticks
The most important aspect in choosing a lacrosse stick is finding one that meets the player's skill level, experience, comfort level and age.
  • Size: most sticks are roughly 42 3/4". The STX Lilly is shorter and meant for very young, short players.
  • Diameter: options are women's traditional 7/8", mid-size (inbetween 7/8" and 1") and full size  1".
  • Shape: octagon, concave octagon, rounded octagon and teardrop.
  • Materials: Alloys are stronger but less temperate in extreme weather. Composites are less strong but have a softer feel and are more flexible. While Sc-Ti is extremely strong and lightweight, these handles can make the stick feel top heavy.
  •  Finish: soft, smooth rubberized or alloy.
Heads
The type of lacrosse stick head chosen sometimes depends on the position played. Defenders often prefer a stick head that is flatter and stiffer to deliver powerful checks, while midfielders often prefer a head that offers more flexibility for quick releases.

Goggles
Goggles protect the player's eyes, so fit and vision are the most important factor in choosing them. Upgraded titanium cage can make the goggles more lightweight but just as protective and strong.

Gloves
Generally, gloves are optional for women's lacrosse players, but they might be worn for warmth in cold weather, or for increased grip and or protection for the hands.

Balls
Official lacrosse game balls must follow specific NCAA regulations for color, weight, and bounce, so it is important to choose certified balls. Soft bean bag practice balls are useful for indoor practice.

Equipping Women's Lacrosse Players
Young women lacrosse players require equipment specially developed for their skillset situations. Longstreth Sporting Goods specializes in equipment that is designed specifically for the needs of women lacrosse players of all levels.