Lacrosse is a contact team sport played between two teams using a small rubber ball (62.8–64.77 mm (2.472–2.550 in), 140–147 g (4.9–5.2 oz)) and a long-handled stick called a crosse or lacrosse stick. The men's version is considered as a rough sport, with slashes and intense checks to the stick and body. The head of the lacrosse stick is strung with loose mesh designed to catch and hold the lacrosse ball. There are many different ways to put mesh on the head of the stick, also known as "stringing the stick." 
Offensively, the objective of the game is to score by shooting the ball into an opponent's goal past the goalie, using the lacrosse stick to catch, cradle, and pass the ball to do so. Defensively, the objective is to keep the other team from scoring and to gain 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. The sport consists of four positions: midfield, attack, defense and goalie. In field lacrosse, attacks are solely offensive players (except on the "ride", when the opposition tries to bring the ball upfield and attackers must stop them), defensemen or defenders are solely defensive players (except when bringing up the ball, which is called a "clear"), the goalie is the last line of defense, directly defending the goal, and midfielders or "middies" can go anywhere on the field and play offense and defense, although in higher levels of lacrosse there are specialized offensive and defensive middies. Long stick middies only play defense and come off of the field on offense.
Lacrosse has roots in the cultural tradition of the Native American Iroquois people, inhabiting what is now New York, Pennsylvania, and other parts of the Northeastern US and lower parts of Ontario and Quebec. As a result of its origins, it is traditionally a Northeastern US, or "east coast" sport, but in recent years has successfully grown into the South, Midwest, and western parts of America.
Lacrosse may have been developed as early as 1100 AD among indigenous peoples on the North American continent. By the seventeenth century, it was well-established. It was documented by Jesuit missionary priests in the territory of present-day Canada. The game has undergone many modifications since that time.
In the traditional aboriginal Canadian version, each team consisted of about 100 to 1,000 men on a field that stretched from about 500 m (1,600 ft) to 3 km (1.9 mi) long. These games lasted from sunup to sundown for two to three days straight. These games were played as part of ceremonial ritual, a kind of symbolic warfare, to give thanks to the Creator or Master.
James Smith described in some detail a game being played in 1757 by his fellow tribe members "wherein now they used a wooden ball, about 7.6 cm (3 in) diameter, and the instrument they moved it with was a strong staff about 1.5 m (5 ft) long, with a hoop net on the end of it, large enough to contain the ball."
The Italian explorer Count Paolo Andreani documented his contacts with the Oneida people in the 1790s and his reports on the Oneida include an illustration which is thought to be the first recorded picture of a lacrosse stick.
Lacrosse played a significant role in the community and religious life of tribes across the continent for many years. Early lacrosse was characterized by deep spiritual involvement, befitting the spirit of combat in which it was undertaken. Those who took part did so in the role of warriors, with the goal of bringing glory and honor to themselves and their tribes. The game was said to be played "for the Creator" or was referred to as "The Creator's Game."
The French Jesuit missionary Jean de Brébeuf saw Iroquois tribesmen play the game during 1637 in present-day New York. He was one of the first Europeans to write about the game. He called it la crosse ("the stick"). The name seems to be originated from the French term for field hockey, le jeu de la crosse. A "crosse" in French is any stick curved at its end (example: Crosse d'evêque - "Bishop's crozier")
In 1855, William George Beers, a Canadian dentist, founded the Montreal Lacrosse Club. In 1867, Beers codified the game, shortening the length of each game and reducing the number of players to 12 per team. The first game played under Beers' rules was at Upper Canada College in 1867; they lost to the Toronto Cricket Club by a score of 3–1. By the 20th century, teams in high schools, colleges, and universities in Canada and the United States began playing the game.
Lacrosse was contested for medals in the 1904 and 1908 Olympics with teams from Canada, the United States, and Great Britain. It was contested as a demonstration sport in the 1928 and 1932 Olympics. On each occasion, a playoff was held in the United States to determine what team would go to the Olympics; each time the playoffs were won by the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays of the university in Baltimore, Maryland.
In the United States, lacrosse during the 1900s was primarily a regional sport centered around the east coast, including the states of Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina. However, in the last half of the 20th century, the sport has continued growth west of this region, and since the beginning of the 21st century in South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Texas, California, Oregon, Indiana, and Minnesota. According to a report of a survey conducted by US Lacrosse in 2013, Field Lacrosse is one of the fastest growing sports and the fastest growing team sport in NFHS.
At the highest amateur level, it is represented by the collegiate NCAA Division I in the United States. The first collegiate lacrosse program was established by New York University in 1877. Nearly 100 years later, the 1971 tournament was the first Men's Lacrosse Championship sponsored by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
In other countries, the sport is also played at a high level on the amateur level by the Australian Lacrosse League, the Canadian University Field Lacrosse Association, and club lacrosse leagues internationally.
In 1998, a number of national lacrosse organizations in the United States merged to create US Lacrosse, a unified national governing body for men's and women's lacrosse in the United States. Headquartered in Baltimore, US Lacrosse seeks to provide a leadership role in virtually every aspect of the game.
In the summer of 2001, a men's professional field lacrosse league, known as Major League Lacrosse (MLL), was inaugurated in the United States. Initially starting with three teams, the MLL has grown to a current total of nine clubs located in major metropolitan areas in the United States. On July 4, 2008, Major League Lacrosse set the professional lacrosse attendance record: 20,116 fans attended a game at Invesco Field in Denver, Colorado.
There are ten players in each team: three attacks, three midfielders, three defensemen, and one goalie.
Attackmen typically spend the entire game at the opponents' end of the field. They cannot cross the midfield line during play unless they are replaced by a midfielder, so that there are always at least 3 players in the offensive end. Attackmen need to be extremely agile and excellent stick handlers. Good attackmen should be equally capable with either hand. The real test of a great attackmen is not just how adept they are at scoring goals, but how well do they pass (feed) the open man to set up the goal. Great attackmen usually also have large numbers of assists as well as goals.
Midfielders (also commonly known as Middies) roam the entire field. They should typically be your best all around athletes and they need to be in very good condition because they cover an enormous area. Middies need to be good defenders, and they need to be able to be strong on the attack, but their real value is in their ability to transition the ball from the defensive to the offensive ends of the field. Middies are the real work horses of the lacrosse team. Some coaches choose to have defensive and offensive midfielders. This meaning that midfielders specialize in one side of the field, defense or offense, and rarely play at both ends of the field during a shift. 
Defensemen (Long Poles) are the enforcers. They are the players who are capable of dictating to the opponents attack where they can go, and where they will be punished for going. They need to be very physical, but still extremely agile. They utilize much longer sticks up to nearly 60" long which allow them to disrupt the opponents attack. Great defensemen need to have exceptional feet. Position on the field is the key to being a great defender. Cutting off the opponents angles to the goal is critical. The longpole will generally abuse the enemy with a barrage of checks from the longer pole and work them selves between the attacker and the goal, all the while working to dislodge or intercept the ball. Longpoles like the attackmen must stay on the defensive half of the field unless replaced by a middy. The defenders job is often also to "Clear" the ball down the field after a turnover out of the defensive zone.
Each player carries a lacrosse stick (or crosse). A "short crosse" (or "short stick") measures between 40 in (1.0 m) and 42 in (1.1 m) long (head and shaft together) and is typically used by attackers or midfielders. A maximum of four players on the field per team may carry a "long crosse" (sometimes called "long pole", "long stick" or "d-pole") which is 52 in (1.3 m) to 72 in (1.8 m) long; typically used by defenders or midfielders.
The head of the crosse on both long and short crosses must be 6.5 in (17 cm) or larger at its widest point. The throat of the lacrosse head for college must be at least 3 inches wide. For high school play, there is no minimum width at its narrowest point; the only provision is that the ball must roll out unimpeded. The designated goalkeeper is allowed to have a stick from 40 in (1.0 m) to 72 in (1.8 m) long and the head of a goalkeeper's crosse may measure up to 12 in (30 cm) wide, significantly larger than field players' heads, to assist in blocking shots.
The field of play is 110 yd (100 m) long and 60 yd (55 m) wide. The goals are 6 ft (1.8 m) by 6 ft (1.8 m). The goal sits inside a circular "crease", measuring 18 ft (5.5 m) in diameter. Each offensive and defensive area is surrounded by a "restraining box." Each quarter, and after each goal scored, play is restarted with a face-off. During a face-off, two players lay their stick horizontally next to the ball, head of the stick inches from the ball and the butt-end pointing down the midfield line. Face-off-men scrap for the ball, often by "clamping" it under their stick and flicking it out to their teammates. Attackers and defenders cannot cross their "restraining line" until one player from the midfield takes possession of the ball or the ball crosses the restraining line. If a member of one team touches the ball and it travels outside of the playing area, play is restarted by awarding possession to the opposing team, unless the ball traveled outside of the playing area after a shot on goal was made then the player with the closest lacrosse head to the ball at the point when it exits the field of play gains possession of the ball. During play, teams may substitute players in and out freely. Sometimes this is referred to as "on the fly" substitution. Substitution must occur within the designated exchange area (often called "the box") in order to be legal.
For most penalties, the offending player is sent to the penalty box, which is located between each team's bench. Play continues without the player for a designated amount of time based upon the foul, however, most penalties are "releasable," meaning that the penalty ends when a goal is scored by the non-offending team. Technical fouls (such as offsides and holding) result in either a turnover or a player's suspension of 30 seconds, while personal fouls are generally penalized one minute. (Some infractions, such as playing with a stick that does not meet the specifications of the designated level of play, may serve non-releasable penalties of up to three minutes). The team that has taken the penalty is said to be playing man down, while the other team is on the man up. Teams will use various lacrosse strategies to attack and defend while a player is being penalized. Offsides is penalized by a 30-second penalty. It occurs when there are more than 7 players on the defensive side of the field (three midfielders/three defensemen/one goalkeeper), or more than 6 players from one team on the offensive side of the field (three midfielders/three attack). The zones are separated by the midfield line.
Lacrosse at the Olympics was a medal-earning sport in the 1904 and 1908 Summer Olympics. Lacrosse was a demonstration sport in the 1928 and 1932 Summer Olympics, as well as at the 1948 Summer Olympics.
The men's professional Major League Lacrosse has used different field lacrosse rules from the international, college, and high school programs. With intentions to increase scoring, the league employed a sixty-second shot clock and a two–point goal for shots taken outside a designated perimeter. In 2007, the MLL was bolstered by a ten-year television contract with ESPN.
Up until the 1930s, all lacrosse was played on large fields outdoors. The owners of Canadian ice hockey arenas invented a reduced-size version of the game, called box lacrosse, as a means to make more profit from their arena investments, and because severe winter weather in many areas limits outdoor play.
Since 1985, when the Canadian University Field Lacrosse Association (CUFLA) began operating a collegiate men's league, field lacrosse has witnessed a revival in Canada. There are now 12 varsity teams. In 1994, Canada declared lacrosse its national summer sport in the National Sports Act (Bill C-212).
In 1987, a men's professional box lacrosse league was started, called the Eagle Pro Box Lacrosse League. This league changed its name to the Major Indoor Lacrosse League, then later to the National Lacrosse League. It grew to encompass men's lacrosse clubs in 14 cities throughout the United States and Canada.
Box lacrosse is played by teams of six on a hockey rink where the ice has been removed or covered by artificial turf, or in an indoor soccer or lacrosse field. 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, and within several years had nearly supplanted field lacrosse in Canada.
Box lacrosse is played at the highest level by the Senior A divisions of the Canadian Lacrosse Association and the National Lacrosse League (NLL). The National Lacrosse League employs some minor rule changes from the Canadian Lacrosse Association (CLA) rules. Notably, the games are played during the winter. The NLL games consist of four fifteen-minute quarters compared with three periods of twenty minutes each (similar to ice hockey) in CLA games (multiple 15-minute OT periods for tied games, until whoever scores first). NLL players may use only sticks with hollow shafts, while CLA permits solid wooden sticks.:
The goals in box lacrosse are much smaller than field lacrosse, traditionally 4 ft (1.2 m) wide by 4 ft (1.2 m) tall in box, and 4.6 ft (1.4 m) wide by 4 ft (1.2 m) tall in the NLL. Also, the goaltender wears much more protective padding, including a massive chest protector and armguard combination known as "uppers", large shin guards known as leg pads (both of which must follow strict measurement guidelines), and ice hockey-style masks or lacrosse helmets. Also, at the professional level, box lacrosse goaltenders often use traditional wooden sticks outside of the NLL, which does not allow wooden sticks. This makes Box Lacrosse faster and rougher than the traditional Field Lacrosse.
The style of the game is quick, accelerated by the close confines of the floor and a shot clock. The shot clock requires the attacking team to take a shot on goal within 30 seconds of gaining possession of the ball. In addition, players must advance the ball from their own defensive end to the offensive side of the floor within 10 seconds.
Box lacrosse is also a much more physical game. Since cross checking is legal in box lacrosse, players wear rib pads in addition to the shoulder and elbow pads that field lacrosse players wear. Box lacrosse players wear a different type of helmet as well, a hockey helmet with a box lacrosse cage.
For most penalties, the offending player is sent to the penalty box and his team has to play without him (thus lacking one player) for a short amount of time. Most penalties last for two minutes, unless a five-minute major penalty has been assessed. What separates box lacrosse (and ice hockey) from other sports is that at the top levels of professional and junior lacrosse, a five-minute major penalty is given and the players are not ejected for participating in a fight.
The rules of women's lacrosse differ significantly from men's lacrosse, most notably by equipment and the degree of allowable physical contact. Women's lacrosse rules also differ significantly between the US and all other countries, who play by the Federation of International Lacrosse, or FIL, rules. Women's lacrosse does not promote physical contact, primarily because the only protective equipment worn for this sport is a mouth guard, sometimes, and face guard (mandatory in the United States, optional internationally) and thin gloves. Recently, there has been discussion on requiring a padded cap or minimalistic helmet. Stick checking (with several rules applied), and not body checking as in men's lacrosse, is permitted in the women's game, but only in certain levels of play. Sometimes checking can lead to body checking; while this is still not permitted in a women's game, some referees will allow limited body checking. Women's lacrosse also does not allow players to have a pocket, or loose net, on the lacrosse stick. Another rule difference is that women start the game with a "draw" instead of a face-off. The primary difference is that while the crosses are held in the air above their hips the ball is placed between two players crosses (stick and head) instead of on the ground.
The first modern women's lacrosse game was held at St Leonards School in Scotland in 1890. It was introduced by the school's headmistress Louisa Lumsden after a visit to Quebec, where she saw it played. The first women's lacrosse team in the United States was established at Bryn Mawr School in Baltimore, Maryland in 1926. Men's and women's lacrosse were played under virtually the same rules, with no protective equipment, until the mid-1930s.
Both the number of players on the field, as well as the general set up of the field, differ from men's lacrosse. Female players must abide by certain boundaries that do not exist in men's play. The three specific boundaries are the 8-meter "fan" in front of the goal (11 meters internationally), the 12-meter (15 meters internationally) half circle that surrounds the 8-meter half circle, and the draw circle in the center of the field, which is used for the women's version of "face-offs", known as "draws". The goal circle is also positioned slightly closer to the end line in women's lacrosse, compared to men's. In women's lacrosse on either the offensive or defensive end, the players are not able to step inside the goal circle for any reason, except when the goalkeeper has stepped out of the circle and one defensive player has stepped in as her deputy; this becomes a "goal-circle violation". However, at the women's collegiate level, a new rule has been established that allows defenders to pass through the goal circle.
The 8-meter "fan" that is in front of the goal circle has a few restrictions in it. The first rule that is one of the most important rules for the 8-meter; as a defender, you cannot be standing inside the 8-meter longer than 3 seconds without being a sticks-length away from the offender you are guarding. This is very similar to the three second rule in basketball. If you are passing through the 8-meter or following your offender, then you will not get called for 3 seconds. If you get called for three seconds then you will be penalized and a player from the other team will be allowed to take a free shot against the goalie. If you are an attacker trying to shoot the ball into the goal, you are not supposed to take a shot while a defender is in "shooting space." In order to make sure that you, the defender, are being safe, you want to lead with your lacrosse stick and once you are a sticks-length away, you can be in front of her. 
Internationally, the game is commonly played in British girls' independent schools. While a minor sport in Australia, it is played to a very high standard at the elite level. Women's lacrosse has seen significant growth in Europe since the beginning of the 21st century, particularly in Germany, the Czech Republic, and the Netherlands. Japan entered its first team into the World Cup in 1993, and South Korea followed suit in 2009. In 2012, the first Israeli international team competed in the European Championships in Amsterdam.The Swedish National team took part for the first time in the 2013 World Cup.
The Australia national squad won the 2005 Women's Lacrosse World Cup. The 2009 Women's World Cup was played in Prague, Czech Republic, won by the United States, and the 2013 World Cup was played in Oshawa, Canada, again won by the United States.
Normally non contact, pre middle school lacrosse is an introductory means to the sport, focusing on basic field play and fundamentals.
Normally from ages 11-14, middle school lacrosse introduces full contact into lacrosse, allowing not only stick but body checks, within the rules mentioned above. Stick rules are less restrictive at this level, allowing for U pockets and other restricted items in high school or NCAA play. This level is where lacrosse begins to be played competitively, whether in the form of clubs, or town teams.
Now beginning to show resemblance to NCAA and MLL lacrosse, high school lacrosse is often where players begin to get scouted for colleges, and therefore play at a much higher level than middle school. Often high school games are played to NCAA standards, with more restrictions on stick dimensions and stringing.
College lacrosse, is played by students in college at the highest student level possible. See College lacrosse.
Lacrosse in the United States is played at the collegiate level in both the club and sanctioned team sport. There are currently 88 NCAA sanctioned Division I men's lacrosse teams, 46 Division II men's lacrosse teams, and 208 Division III men's lacrosse teams. There are also currently 91 Division I women's lacrosse teams, 57 Division II women's lacrosse Teams, and 201 Division III women's lacrosse teams. 209 men's teams compete at the Men's Collegiate Lacrosse Association level, including most major universities in the United States. Another 107 schools have club teams in the National College Lacrosse League.
The first U. S. intercollegiate game was played on November 22, 1877 between New York University and Manhattan College. Lacrosse had been introduced in upstate New York in the 1860s. Lacrosse was further introduced to the Baltimore area in the 1890s. These two areas continue to be the hotbeds of college lacrosse in the U.S. The first intercollegiate lacrosse tournament was held in 1881, with Harvard beating Princeton, 3-0, in the championship game.
The NCAA men's Lacrosse Division I in 1971, when Cornell took the first championship over Maryland, 12–6. Johns Hopkins has 9 championships with three consecutive wins from 1978 to 1980. The other two teams that have three consecutive wins are Syracuse from 1988 to 1990 and Princeton from 1996 to 1998. Syracuse also holds the NCAA record of championships with 11, the last occurring in 2009. In 2013 Duke beat Syracuse to claim the NCAA Division I Championship in Philadelphia. The Division I national championship tournament draws one of the largest crowds of any Division I NCAA sport.
The NCAA men's Lacrosse Division III is growing at a much faster rate than Division I. There are currently 208 Division III teams playing in 25 different conferences in 2013, compared to 130 teams in 2005. Stevenson University was the 2013 Division III national champion.
In non-hotbed areas, the Men's Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA) is the dominant league for men's teams. MCLA schools cannot also have an NCAA men's program, so the league's balance of power lies with teams such as Colorado, Colorado State, Arizona State, and several University of California campuses. Though considered a "club" league due to the MCLA's status outside traditional NCAA jurisdiction, most perennial top-20 teams in the league compete at a high Division III or low Division I level, as evidenced by a growing tide of MCLA/NCAA scrimmages.
NCAA women's Lacrosse Division I began play in 1982. The University of Maryland, College Park has traditionally dominated women's intercollegiate play, producing many head coaches across the country and many U.S. national team players. The Terrapins won seven consecutive NCAA championships, from 1995 through 2001. Princeton University's women's teams have made it to the final game seven times since 1993 and have won three NCAA titles, in 1993, 2002, and 2003. In recent years, Northwestern University has become a force, winning the national championship from 2005 through 2009. Maryland ended Northwestern's streak by defeating the Wildcats in the 2010 final, however Northwestern has since won the 2011 and 2012 national titles. Maryland again claimed the national championship in 2014. The University of North Carolina has also become a common sight in the NCAA tournament, winning the 2013 championship, and almost beating Maryland in the 2015 championship game.
Major League Lacrosse (MLL) is a semi-professional lacrosse league founded in 1999 in the United States that showcases the world's best players. The season consists of 56 games running from April to August. MLL uses standard lacrosse rules with several exceptions, such as a 16-yard 2-point line and a 60-second shot clock. Regular season play began in 2001 with 6 teams, with plans to expand to 19 teams. The MLL had 8 teams in 2015: Boston, Annapolis, New York City, Rochester, Denver, Columbus, Charlotte, and Palm Beach County (formerly Hamilton). A ninth team, the Atlanta Blaze, joined the MLL in April 2016.
Lacrosse has been played for the most part in Canada and the United States, with small but dedicated lacrosse communities in the United Kingdom and Australia. Recently, however, lacrosse has begun to flourish at an international level, with teams being established particularly in Europe and east Asia.
With lacrosse not having been an official Olympic sport since 1908, the pinnacle of international lacrosse competition consists of the quadrennial World Championships. Begun in 1968, world championships began as a four-team invitational tournament sponsored by the International Lacrosse Federation. Until 1986, lacrosse world championships had been contested only by the US, Canada, England, and Australia. Scotland and Wales had teams competing in the women's edition. They are now held for lacrosse at senior men, senior women, under 19 men and under 19 women levels.
With the expansion of the game internationally, the 2006 Men's World Championship was contested by 21 countries and the Iroquois Nationals, representing the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. They are the only Native American/First Nations team to compete internationally. The 2009 Women's World Cup was competed for by 16 nations.
In 2003, the first World Indoor Lacrosse Championship was contested by six nations at four sites in Ontario. Canada won the championship in a final game against the Iroquois Nationals, 21–4. The 2007 WILC was held in Halifax from May 14–20, and also won by Canada. Competition included the Iroquois Nationals and teams from Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, England, Ireland, Scotland, and the United States.
The World Lacrosse Championships have been dominated by the United States, particularly in the men's game. Its only world championship game losses at either level was in the 1978 final and 2006 final, both to Canada. The USA has won 9 of the 11 senior men's and all six under-19 men's tournaments to date.
In the women's game, Australia has provided stiffer competition, having won 6 of 14 games against the USA at senior world championships, including one draw. The USA has won 6 of the 8 senior women's, and 2 of the 3 under-19 women's tournaments to date, with the other world championships won by Australia.
The Iroquois Nationals are a team with members representing the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. The team was admitted to the International Lacrosse Federation (ILF) in 1990. It is the only First Nations team sanctioned to compete in any sport internationally. The Nationals placed fourth in the 1998, 2002 and 2006 World Lacrosse Championships. In 2008, the Iroquois were admitted as the Haudenosunee Nation to the International Federation of Women's Lacrosse Associations (IFWLA), since merged with the FIL (see below).
One obstacle to the international development of lacrosse had been separate governing bodies for the men's and women's versions of the sport. Men's lacrosse was governed by ILF and the women's version by IFWLA. In August 2008, after four years of negotiation, the two bodies merged to form a single unified body, the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL). All championships previously operated by the ILF and IFWLA were taken over by the FIL. The FIL hosted the 2010 World Lacrosse Championship in Manchester, England, between July 15 to 24, 2010. The 2014 World Lacrosse Championship were held in Denver, United States.
Internationally, as of 2013, a total of 47 members belong to the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL). Only the United States, Canada, Australia, and the Iroquois Nationals have finished in the top three places at the World Lacrosse Championships.
The World Indoor Lacrosse Championships are held every four years and are also sponsored by the FIL. Only eight nations have competed so far. Canada, the Iroquois Nationals and the United States have finished in the top three places at these events.
The next largest international lacrosse competition are the European Lacrosse Championships, held for both men and women's teams. Since 1995, the European Lacrosse Federation (ELF) has been running the European Championships. Before 2001 they held the Championships annually, but that year the ELF changed the format to every four years, between the World Championships. Before 2004, only seven nations had ever participated.
In 2004, a record number of countries participated, fielding 12 men's and 6 women's teams, making it the largest international lacrosse event of the year. In 2008, the European Lacrosse Championships were held in Lahti, Finland, with 18 competing countries. England placed first with the Netherlands and Germany placing second and third, respectively. The most recent ELF Championships were held in Amsterdam in 2012. England was victorious over Ireland in the championship game, and Sweden took third place. 32 nations compete now in the international lacrosse championships for the year 2014.
In order to play lacrosse a complete set of equipment is needed. Each set of lacrosse equipment should contain a pair of gloves, elbow pads, shoulder pads, helmet and a stick at minimum. Pads differ in size and protection from player to player based on position, ability, comfort and preference. For example, many attack players wear larger and more protective pads in order to protect themselves from defensemen and checks thrown at them while defenders typically wear smaller and less protective pads due to their smaller possibility of being checked. Goalies also have the option to skip arm pads entirely, since they are in the goal throughout the duration of the game. Not using arm pads also maximizes flexibility due to no fabric or pad hindering them. A goalkeeper will also wear a very large and protective chest pad to cover their stomach and chest. They also wear a plastic neck guard that connects to the chin of their helmet, this protects them from shots hitting their neck and or windpipe. In addition, male goalkeepers are required to wear a protective cup.
The lacrosse stick has two parts, the head of the stick and the shaft. There are many varieties and types of each. There are different heads for different positions and different playing style. An attack may desire a more narrow head to keep control of the ball more easily. A defenseman may want a flatter and wider head in order to scoop up ground balls more easily. There are various shafts that can be used based on position and preference. An attacking player may prefer a lighter shaft in order to move quickly while cradling the ball and pass/shooter faster. A defenseman may want a stronger, heavier and more durable for the checks that they throw on attacking players.
There are typically three parts to every lacrosse head, the scoop, sidewall, and pocket. The scoop is the top of the stick that affects picking up ground ball and passing/shooting. The scoop can be more of a flat shape so that it is easier to pick up ground balls as that part of the head has a larger volume of plastic on the ground or it can be more of a U shape where it is harder to pick ground balls up due to less plastic on the ground. They both have pro's and con's, where a flatter scoop allows an easier time picking up a ground ball but less ball retention/accuracy whereas U shaped scoops are harder to use to pick up ground balls but have more ball retention and accuracy.
The sidewall is the side of the head that affects the depth of the head and the stiffness. More stiff sidewalls and heads are better to use for defensemen in order to throw more viable checks. More flexible sidewalls are better use for ground balls, faceoffs and fast movements. Many players who take faceoffs prefer a very flexible sidewall in order to bend and cover the ball. Some faceoff players prefer an incredibly hard head if they are confident in their clamping speed; as this allows their stick to maintain integrity against another player trying to dig it out.
The pocket is the mesh of the head and the width of the head at the base. A wider pocket allows an easier time catching balls, but will also cause less ball control. A narrower pocket makes catching harder, but allows more ball retention and accuracy. Many sticks, like the Lakota U, have a narrower sidewall but a wider top, offering a compromise between ground balls and ball control.
Only hockey and lacrosse—both Canadian games—let a player fight and still remain in the game. No other popular team sport in the world does the same.
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