Fortunately, many women's sports are becoming increasingly popular to play and watch. Whether your daughter has just joined a team or is considering what she'd like to play, you might want to learn more about 3 great professional sports for women--field hockey, softball, and lacrosse.
Brought to the United States in 1901, field hockey has grown as a women’s sport and is now played in over 250 colleges. This fast-paced, exciting sport resembles ice hockey but is played with a hard ball on a field of grass or turf. Players use field hockey sticks to drive the ball into a net. Rules include:
- 11 players on each team: goalkeeper and 10 field players.
- Only the flat side of the stick can be used to hit the ball.
- Fouls are called for using a body part to advance the ball, hitting another player with the ball, playing dangerously or interfering with play.
Players Equipment needed for field hockey includes sticks, goggles, shinguards, mouthguards, balls, and cleats/turf shoes. Goalies also have helmets and protective gear.
The National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) is a professional softball league with six teams, each playing a 50 game schedule. In addition, close to 1,700 college softball programs are available and some players can receive scholarships to play. In softball, there are:
- 7 inning games.
- 11 or 12 inch balls (depending on age group) that are pitched underhand from a flat 8-foot circle 40-43 feet from the batter.
- Bats for softball are under 34 inches and often made of a composite rather than aluminum or wood.
- Rules that say runners can't leave the base until the ball is pitched, but stealing and bunting are allowed.
- Nine fielders.
- Fields that are smaller than baseball, with 60-foot baselines.
If your daughter wants to play softball, she will need a bat suited to her height, weight, and ability. In addition, she will need other equipment for playing softball like a glove, batting helmet, cleats and other protective gear. For practice, she may want a pitching machine too.
Based on a game played by indigenous Americans, lacrosse for women is equally fast-paced as the men's game, but not as physical. Played both in colleges in the U.S. and internationally, there is a Women's Lacrosse World Cup every four years. Women's lacrosse is played:
- On a field with a goal at either end.
- With teams of 12 players, including the goalkeeper.
- With a yellow rubber NOCSAE-stamped ball. The goal is to shoot it into the opposing team’s goal. The team with the most goals wins.
- In two 30-minute halves.
- By passing the ball with the sticks.
- With players cradling the ball by moving it back and forth to prevent being checked by another player.
Because rules in women's lacrosse prevent the play from involving as much contact as men's games, equipment needed for women's lacrosse is less extensive. Field players need a lacrosse stick, mouth guard, goggles, cleats, practice balls and a bag. Of course, goalkeepers need additional gear.