Lacrosse 🥍 - Getting Started
Lacrosse is a team sport played with several players on each team trying to score the most goals in a lacrosse game. The game is played with a lacrosse stick, a small net on the end, and a lacrosse ball. It is the oldest organized sport in North America.
The sport used to be in the Olympic Games, but no longer is. Players on the lacrosse field run with the ball in the net of their stick and pass the ball to teammates trying to score more goals than the opposing team.
There are four versions of the sport with each using different rules, fields, and equipment, and those versions are field lacrosse, women's lacrosse, box lacrosse, and intercrosse. Field lacrosse is the most popular version and differs with the amount of contact allowed. Lacrosse is a sport that is big in the United States and Canada and not many other countries.
Online Betting Lacrosse
While there are opportunities to bet on lacrosse online, there are not many of them. Some sportsbooks will offer odds on some of the bigger leagues in America. However, when it comes to lacrosse and online betting, the most options come from the college lacrosse games.
Many sportsbooks will have odds posted for Division 1 lacrosse games, for both men and women, with several betting markets available. However, lacrosse does not offer nearly as many betting options as other more prominent sports such as football, basketball, soccer, and baseball.
Rules and Gameplay
While there are four versions of lacrosse, field lacrosse and women's lacrosse are the most popular. Box lacrosse is played on a smaller field with fewer players. For this article, the rules and gameplay are for field lacrosse, but many of the game's penalties and rules are the same for all versions.
Field lacrosse is played on a rectangular field with ten players on each team, including a goalie, three defensemen, three midfielders, and three attackers. The lacrosse field is 110 by 60 yards (101 by 55 m), and the goals are six by six ft (1.8 by 1.8 m).
On each side of the lacrosse field is a goal surrounded by an18 ft (5.5 m) circular crease, and the goalie can hit in the crease, and attacking players cannot enter it.
A lacrosse game is 60 minutes long, with four periods of 15 minutes each. At the beginning of each period and after a goal, there is a face-off between two opposing players. The referee drops the ball, and the players battle to get control of the ball.
After that, when one of the teams has control of the ball, they head to the offensive side of the field and attempt to score. A settled play in lacrosse has six players on offense against six defensive players and the goalie.
If the ball goes out of bounds on the lacrosse field, it is given to the team that last touched it. However, if the ball goes out of bounds after a shot, the team with the player closest to the ball is given possession.
Substitutes can come in off the bench while the game is going on and come in through the substitution area. After there is a penalty or a goal has been scored, players can go into the game without using the substitution area.
The referee can dole out penalties in a lacrosse game where the team that had the penalty called against them can lose possession or serve time in the penalty area. When a player serves penalty time, their team has one less player on the field.
There are penalties where a player can come back in after a goal is scored, but they cannot do so for more excessive penalties.
There are two types of penalties in lacrosse in technical fouls and personal fouls. Technical fouls are for things such as offsides, pushing, and holding, and the penalty is a loss of possession or a 30-second penalty.
More excessive physical fouls are personal fouls such as slashing, tripping, illegal body checking, cross-checking, and unsportsmanlike conduct, and the player that commits the foul is given a 1-minute penalty.
In most lacrosse leagues, if the game is tied at the end of four periods, there is a sudden-death four-minute overtime, and the first team to score wins. If no goals are scored in the first overtime, there is a sudden death overtime with no time limit where the first team to score wins.
How the Teams Work
The teams work together in unison to try to control the ball and move it forward to try to score. Their positions in lacrosse and their main jobs on the lacrosse field are:
- Attackers – The players who mainly keep to the offensive side of the field and are the game's leading scorers.
- Midfielders – These players can move all over the field and play defense to help get the ball to the attackers. Midfielders can score, and there can be more attacking midfielders or more defensive midfielders.
- Defensemen – The defensemen play on the defensive side of the field and try to keep the opposing team from scoring. They also start the attack with a turnover or penalty and pass the ball to their teammates.
- Goalie – The last line of the defense is the goalie, which is in the crease and protects the goal with his body and stick, trying to keep the opposing team from scoring.
Strategy & Tactics
There are many strategies and tactics for lacrosse and not surprising with ten players on the team. There are offensive and defensive tactics used by teams that try to play to the team's strength. There are more attacking teams and then those that play a more defensive game and try to score on the counter-attack.
Many of the tactics involved in lacrosse also have to do with how the game is unfolding. If a team needs to score to come back but is a more defensive team, they need to go on the offensive to come back.
The tactics used by players are often used to neutralize an opponent and gain an advantage. Some teams will attempt to play keep away, often passing to control the ball when they have the lead while others will always try to score.
History of Lacrosse
The history of lacrosse dates back to Native American communities from 1100 AD. The Native Americans established the sport, and in the 17th century, the game was documented by missionary priests in what is now Canada.
The ancient form of the sport had hundreds of players on a field that was miles long. The game was a ceremonial ritual that lasted days and gave thanks to the Indians' gods. The game was big in the tribes in the North American continent for many years bringing together combat and was called "The Creator's Game" in reference to the religious ties.
Jean de Brébeuf was a French Jesuit missionary in present-day Ontario, Canada, in 1637 and called the game la crosse, which means "the stick" in French. James Smith described a game being played with a wooden ball and stick with a net at the end by the Mohawk tribe in 1757.
The white locals noticed the game played by the Mohawks and began playing themselves around 1830. The Montreal Lacrosse Club was founded in Montreal, Canada, in 1856 by George Beers and he codified the game.
In doing so, he cut the numbers of players per team to 12 and shortened the time period and the field. Under his rules, the first game took place in 1867 between Upper Canada College and the Toronto Cricket Club.
The sport grew in popularity in North America and by the turn of the century. There were many clubs in America and Canada, but also in other English speaking countries of England, New Zealand, and Australia. The first women's lacrosse club was established in 1890 in Scotland, and the first in North America was in 1926.
In the United States, the game grew with most clubs in the Mid-Atlantic states, mainly Maryland and New York. After 1950 the sport spread through the rest of the United States but is still the most popular in New England. In a 2016 survey by US Lacrosse, it showed there were over 820,000 people across the U.S, playing the sport.
Wall of Fame
When it comes to the Wall of Fame for lacrosse, there is the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame and Museum located in Maryland and the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame located in New Westminster, British Columbia.
To see the inductees for the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame CLICK HERE.
To see the inductees for the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame CLICK HERE.
It is interesting that when talking about the greatest players in the history of lacrosse, two of the greats are known for other sporting exploits. Jim Brown was one of the great running backs ever in the NFL and was also a first-team All American playing lacrosse at Syracuse University. Jim Thorpe was a gold medal-winning athlete who dominated many sports, including lacrosse.
Some of the other names mentioned when talking about the best players in the history of lacrosse are Gary Gait, Jimmy Lewis, Oren Lyons, Michael Powell, and Dave Pietramala.
The main distinctive element about the sport of lacrosse has to be the equipment used, mainly the sticks with the net at the end. The players can generate a lot of speed passing and shooting the lacrosse ball with the sticks.
Not only is the lacrosse ball whizzing around the field, but so are the players with all the positions having one main goal and that is to score the ball.
Lacrosse is a high-speed game, and on top of that, it can be very physical. The checking in the game can be brutal, and lacrosse players have to take hits while in the field of play.
There are many statistics for lacrosse, as there are both team and player statistics.
Some of the key team statistics for lacrosse include assists per game, goals per game, clearing percentage, face-off winning percentage, goals against per game, and man-down defense. The most significant stat for teams in lacrosse is the win/loss record.
The key player stats in lacrosse include goals per game, goalies saves per game, assists, per game, caused turnovers per game, and face-off winning percentage.
Bettors that wager on lacrosse always look at both team and player stats when handicapping a lacrosse game. For any sport, if you put a little time into handicapping, you can have a better chance to win the bet.
Popularity and Cultural Impact
While lacrosse is not one of the more prominent sports, it is popular, especially in North America. There is a subculture of lacrosse players in North America, and it is also a big collegiate sport, especially in colleges in the northeast of the U.S.
There are stars in the sport, and while there are professional leagues, the players often have other jobs. They are not the biggest sports stars but known in the lacrosse world.