Lacrosse is a sport that’s enjoyed equally by men and women. There are a few differences in the sport depending on gender. The three major differences are the amount of contact allowed, equipment, and the dimensions of the playing field.
The primary difference in men’s and women’s lacrosse is that there’s a no body contact rule. A women’s game features all the frantic action and spectacular plays and catches as the men’s game, but contact is carefully monitored. Technical and physical differences, along with the no body contact rule, means there are different equipment requirements for women.
In the U.S., women lacrosse players are only required to wear mouth guards, goggles and gloves. When playing internationally, only a mouth guard is required and goggles are optional. However, as more information about concussions and traumatic brain injuries becomes known in regard to multiple sports, there has been increasing discussion about adding helmets to the women’s gear.
The lacrosse stick in women’s play is also different. It must adhere to a very specific length and the pocket has to be sufficiently shallow so the ball can be seen above the side when it’s held at eye level. The ball is usually yellow, unless the teams both agree to play with a different color.
Dimensions of the playing field are also different in women’s lacrosse. Traditionally, women played on a field that’s slightly larger than the men’s. The typical field for women was 120 yards long and 70 yards wide. Twelve players are on the field during game play.
Modifications were made to the women’s game in 2000 that limited the number of players between restraining lines to five players from each team. The sticks were changed to an offset design and goggles became mandatory in the U.S. in 2002. The adoption of hard boundaries was made in 2006 and defensive rules were changed in 2013 to make the game more similar to the men’s.
There are many other changes and modifications that have been implemented to make the women’s game more closely mirror the way men play. Contact, equipment and field size were the most significant of those alterations, but it doesn’t alter the enthusiasm and excitement on the field.