History, rules and variations of Lacrosse

The history of a sport – Lacrosse
Lacrosse is a team sport that resembles hockey. Sticks are used as rackets, which are provided with a net at the front end. The ball must then be shot into the opponent’s goal. The history of lacrosse goes back to the Indians on the east coast of America. In 1908 Lacrosse was even once an Olympic discipline.

The Indians at the Great Lakes and the East Coast invented lacrosse. It was called Baggataway or Tewaraathon. The games served as preparation for the war and were dedicated to the war god. Lacrosse was often played with other tribes and see best faceoff heads not infrequently real warlike actions developed from the game. Sometimes more than 100 players were involved in a game. But lacrosse was also used as a medium to settle disputes between the tribes.

Chronicle of a success story
Already in the year 1634 the French Jesuit missionary Jean de Brébeuf reported in Ontario about the game. He gave him his name Lacrosse (The Cross) because the bat reminded him of a bishop’s staff. Around 1850, whites also discovered their interest in the game, and the Montreal Lacrosse Club was founded in 1856. Lacrosse experienced a boom from 1867, when the Canadian National Lacrosse Association was founded. At the end of the 19th century, lacrosse spread to other continents.

Until the 1930s, lacrosse was played without protective equipment. The same rules applied to men’s and women’s play, but this changed over time. Today the men’s lacrosse sport is much more aggressive and body-focused than the women’s sport. This is why men today wear protective equipment similar to that of ice hockey, while women do not need it.

Lacrosse on an international level
In 1987 the National Lacrosse League (NLL) was founded in Canada. Since 1994, Lacrosse has been regarded as a national sport by a declaration of the Canadian Parliament. At regular intervals competitions are held on an international level, up to world championships.

After a short intermezzo, however, lacrosse quickly disappeared from the Olympic programme. After that it lost its importance and for a time was almost exclusively practised as a school and high school sport.

The playing field, the ball and the clubs at lacrosse

The pitch measures 55 metres wide and 102 metres long. The goals are 14 metres from the end of the pitch and measure 1.83 by 1.83 metres.

The ball with a circumference of 20 centimeters weighs about 140 grams and is made of rubber.

The racket is called a cross or stick and has a length of 101 to 183 centimeters. Its cross-section is a maximum of 2.5 centimeters. In the head of the club, which is made of plastic, there is an additional net (= pocket). It enables precise shots and ball controls.

The playing time is 4 times 15 or 4 times 20 minutes, with the ladies 2 times 30 minutes.

The Faceoff
The game starts with a faceoff for the men and a draw for the women. Faceoff means that the players of both teams sit on their knees or squat opposite each other. After the whistle is blown, an attempt is made to get possession of the ball. In a draw, two opposing players take the ball between their clubs and throw it upwards at the whistle.

Possession and body contact
Unlike many other ball sports, lacrosse does not limit how long the ball can be held or carried by a player. The opponent has the right to strike away the bat of the player in the ball with his own bat in order to conquer the ball. In the men’s game, the fight for the ball takes place with high physical effort. The opponent is allowed to stop or pull away.

With the ladies, on the other hand, there is hardly any physical contact, only a slight pushing is permitted. Therefore the extensive protective equipment is not necessary with the plays of the ladies also, since the sport is considered as little injury-intensive. For men, on the other hand, it is deliberately a little harder, which is why the complete equipment must be worn to protect against injuries.

Polocrosse – lacrosse on horseback
The strategically highly interesting polocross is a mixture of the two team sports lacrosse and polo. Like polo, polocross is also played on horseback.

The polocross team consists of six players. Two opposing teams compete against each other. The game is divided into six to eight seasons called chukkas. In each chukka, three players of a team compete. The duration of a chukka is a maximum of eight minutes.

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