How Women’s Field Lacrosse Differs from Men’s Field Lacrosse

Part of the Lacrosse For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Women’s field lacrosse is exploding in popularity — there are three times as many women’s collegiate lacrosse programs today as there were in 1990. The women’s field game differs from the men’s field game in some critical ways:

  • Physical contact: The main difference between men’s and women’s lacrosse comes down to contact. In the men’s game, body-checking is legal — and encouraged (especially by coaches) — while in the women’s game, it is not. As a result, there is far less protective equipment in the women’s game: Men wear helmets, mouth guards, gloves, shoulder pads, elbow pads, and often ribs pads, whereas women wear mouth guards and protective eyewear, but (with the exception of goalies) no helmets or padding.

  • Number of players: In the men’s game, ten players are on the field — three attackmen, three midfielders, three defensemen, and a goaltender. In the women’s game, there are 12 players on the field — offensive players (first home, second home, third home, and two attack wings) and defensive players (center, two defensive wings, point, cover point, third man, and goalie).

  • Sticks: Unlike men’s lacrosse, mesh is not permitted for the pockets of women’s sticks; the pockets must be strung in the traditional way. Also, the top of the ball must be above the sidewall when it’s in the pocket. As a result, stick handling and shooting are more difficult in the women’s game.

  • In addition, the standard stick length in men’s field lacrosse is 40 to 42 inches from the end of the head to the end of the handle; sticks for defensive players (as well as one midfielder) can measure 52 to 72 inches in length, and the goalie’s stick can be 40 to 72 inches long. Women’s lacrosse sticks must measure 35½ to 43¼ inches in length; the goalie’s stick must measure 35½ to 48 inches in length.

  • Field size: In men’s lacrosse, the field measures 110 yards long and 60 yards wide. In women’s lacrosse, the field is a bit bigger: 120 yards long and 70 yards wide.

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