Lacrosse is a team sport of Native American origin played using a small solid rubber ball and a long-handled stick called a crosse or lacrosse stick, mainly played on the East Coast of the United States and Canada. It may have developed as early as the 5th Century, but has since undergone several modifications and developments. Historically, each team could consist of between 100 to 1000 men in an area that stretched from 500 yards to a couple of miles long. These long, intensive games were played as part of a ceremonial ritual to give thanks to the Creator.The first European to write about the game was French Missionary Jean de Brébeuf, who witnessed it being played in 1637, and referred to it as 'la crosse' (The stick), possibly from the term 'le jeu de la crosse', French for 'Hockey'.
The head of the lacrosse stick is strung with loose mesh designed to catch and hold the lacrosse ball. Offensively, the objective of the game is to score by shooting the ball into an opponent's goal, using the lacrosse stick to catch, carry, and pass the ball to do so. Defensively, the objective is to keep the opposing team from scoring and to dispossess them of the ball through the use of stick checking and body contact or positioning.
The sport has four major types: men's field lacrosse, women's lacrosse, box lacrosse and intercrosse.
Field lacrosse, sometimes referred to as the "fastest sport on two feet," is a full contact outdoor men's sport played with ten players on each team.Each team plays with ten players on the field: a goalkeeper; three defenders in the defensive end; three midfielders free to roam the whole field; and three attackers attempting to score goals in the offensive end. There is much physical contact and the game is very fast moving and exciting.
The modern women's game was introduced in 1890 at the St Leonards School in Scotland. The rules of women's lacrosse differ significantly from men's field lacrosse and are specifically designed to allow less physical contact between players. As a result of the lack of contact, the only protective equipment required is a mouthguard and faceguard/goggles. In addition, players may choose to wear gloves and eye protection.
The pockets of women's sticks are shallower than those of the men, making the ball harder to catch and more difficult to shoot at high speed. The pockets also make it harder to cradle without dropping the ball.
Box lacrosse is an indoor version of the game played by teams of six on a hockey rink where the ice has been removed or covered by artificial turf. The enclosed playing area is called a box, in contrast to the open playing field of the traditional game.This version of the game was introduced in the 1930s to promote business for hockey arenas.The goals in box lacrosse are much smaller than field lacrosse, traditionally 4 feet wide by 4 feet tall in box. Also, the goaltender wears much more protective padding, including a chest protector and armguard combination, large shin guards known as leg pads, and ice hockey-style masks or lacrosse helmets.
Box lacrosse is generally rougher and faster than traditional field lacrosse.
An intercrosse stick is different from a normal lacrosse stick in that the head or "crosse" is made completely of plastic, where as in traditional lacrosse, the head has a flexible string or mesh pocket in which the ball is carried.
The ball is larger, softer and hollow. Generally teams consist of five players per side, and the field size is roughly 40m wide and 40 long, with goals the same size as in Box Lacrosse. The sport can be played outdoors or indoors and unlike normal lacrosse there exists a strict "no contact" rule which makes it a popular alternative for physical education, and a great place to start for both young and old.
For more information on playing Lacrosse, please visit the English Lacrosse Association website, atwww.englishlacrosse.co.uk