Why Are Women’s Lacrosse Sticks Different Than Men’s? Here is the Best Guide!

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Women's lacrosse is growing quickly in popularity and involvement, but many players are still wondering - why are the sticks different than their male counterparts?

In this definitive guide, we'll discuss why are women's lacrosse sticks different than men's and what factors make an ideal choice for female players. Let's dive in!


Take Away Key Points:

  • There are differences between women's and men's lacrosse, and sticks are one of the major variances
  • Other differences include equipment, number of players, size of the field, face-offs, and contact - more or less for the two-game variants
  • Ensure you learn all the rules in advance to differentiate between the similarities and divergences between the games

Differences Between Girls' & Boys' Lacrosse

If you still don't know the differences between men's and women's lacrosse, now it's time to learn them.

You can find all differences regarding rules, equipment, drills, players, strategies, and other game parts to differentiate between the two versions.

Let's see the main differences.

1. Men's lacrosse vs. girls' lacrosse gameplay strategies

why are women's lacrosse sticks different than men's

The strategies for playing lacrosse are the same for both men's and women's teams – the only major difference is that men use a longer stick and can potentially hit harder since physical contact is allowed.

Women typically rely on stickwork and smart passing to move the ball down the field, while men focus on strength and speed to create more shooting opportunities.

Women's lacrosse games also typically emphasize defense and ball control more than offense. Men, however, focus more on taking advantage of fast breaks where they can quickly scan the field and find open shots with their sticks.

Coaches of each gender must design plays according to the approach they want their team to take, whether offensive or defensive.

In the end, all teams aim for success in mindfully advancing the ball down the field to score - but they do this in different ways, ultimately leading to unique gameplay strategies between men's and women's lacrosse.

2. Men's vs. women's game: Difference in players

The main difference between the two versions of this sport is the varying numbers of players on a given team.

Men's lacrosse typically has ten players on the offensive and defensive sides of the lacrosse field. The men's lacrosse players include: one goalie, three defenders, three midfielders and three attackers. 

In contrast, women's lacrosse teams usually have twelve players split into the defensive zone and offensive zone of the lacrosse field, with: five attackers, six defenders, a goalkeeper.

These different player combinations mean that the strategies used by each team can be radically different from one another and far more dynamic than those often seen in other sports. As such, both versions of this fascinating game ensure an exciting experience for both spectators and players alike.

3. Men's and women's lacrosse: Field size difference

Men's and women's lacrosse are two different sports at the collegiate and professional levels, with big differences in their field size. Men's lacrosse fields generally measure 110 yards long by 60 yards wide, while women's fields usually measure 120 yards long by 70 yards wide.

The larger space available on a women's lacrosse field makes the game more conducive to passing and running, as the players have more room to maneuver. This is balanced out by the stricter penalty rules for physical contact in Women's lacrosse versus the men's game, which often leads to holding or foul calls if one player applies too much physical pressure.

However, both the men's and women's games use the same goal of six feet by six feet. Despite these field differences, both men's and women's lacrosse share the same core fundamentals of shooting, passing, catching, and dodging with lacrosse sticks.

4. Men's vs. women's physical contact

are mens and womens lacrosse sticks the same

Lacrosse is an exciting sport, presenting a unique challenge to players in terms of interpreting physical contact due to the differences between men's and women's lacrosse.

The men's game features more physical contact, allowing for stick checks, shoulder-to-shoulder body contact, setting picks, and even larger collisions. Women's lacrosse is typically less physical; it allows some defensive stick checks with controlled sticks and very limited body contact, such as shoulder-to-shoulder.

As there is no separate penalty box in women's lacrosse, any physical penalty may result in an immediate two minutes or five minutes off the field, depending on the foul.

Overall, both styles of play equally reward skill and dedication while allowing competitive athletes to express themselves through their respect for different levels of physicality.

5. Men's vs. women's protective gear

When it comes to men's and women's lacrosse, the equipment necessary to play the sport differs significantly due to more contact in the men's game.

In men's lacrosse, men wear more protective equipment due to more contact allowed. The protective gear consists of a long pole, helmet, mouth guards, protective gloves, elbow pads, shoulder pads, and athletic supporters with a cup for males.

The long pole has a deep pocket for catching and throwing the ball. The goalie wears a chest protector, throat guard, and padded pads in men's games.

On the other hand, women require a lacrosse stick (shorter than men), but they must wear goggles, mouth guards, and protective gloves—no helmets or protective padding needed, as there is less contact with opposing players allowed. However, girls at younger levels also wear shin guards for extra protection. The goalie should also wear shin guards in the women's game.

6. Mens vs. womens lacrosse sticks

A men's lacrosse stick is typically longer than a women's lacrosse stick. The men's sticks measure from 37 up to 72 inches. The size of the men's tick depends on the playing position.

For instance, offensive players have shorter sticks than midfielders and defenders, and the stick length is again different from the goalie's stick. Compared to these stick dimensions, women's lacrosse sticks are shorter than men's and measure between 35 and 42 inches.

Additionally, men's lacrosse sticks have significantly smaller heads than the wider variety for women, which are designed for less powerful shots and better control of the ball.

The men's stick also features stronger materials, such as metal shafts. In contrast, women's sticks can be made out of softer materials to control the ball easily and use the sticks effortless for different operations.

Moreover, men's lacrosse sticks have deep pockets, while women's lacrosse sticks offer wider head elements. Such deeper pockets provide better ball control and various stick operations, as they can perform ground balls, passing, catching, and shooting without dropping the ball out.

Men's lacrosse also requires body checking and stick checking, so these deep pockets are excellent in preventing balls from falling out of the stick during the games. However, no stick-checking or body-checking is allowed in women's lacrosse, so there is no need for such a huge pocket.

Thus, women's lacrosse uses a tighter and slightly smaller pocket, so women need more practice, skill, and focus on playing and performing the games better. The lack of depth in the women's stick also allows different rules for more or less contact than in the men's game.

However, goalies in both the women's and the men's game use different sticks than all other players, as they must block shots and prevent the opposing team from scoring and winning.

7. Men's vs. women's lacrosse: Foul rules & penalties

There are several differences between men's and women's lacrosse regarding fouls. The primary difference is in what constitutes a technical or personal foul.

While men's lacrosse requires a player to use excessive force or show vicious intent, women's lacrosse usually only requires the player to show ill intent of any kind to be called for a personal foul.

Additionally, the severity of some of these rules differs since body contact is more restricted in women's lacrosse than in men's. Women are also not allowed to reach around an opponent's body, use their stick over their head, thrust the stick at an opponent, push off with their hands, or trip with their crosse.

These types of plays are allowed as long as male players use no excessive force. Moreover, face masking (i.e., covering another player's face with the crosse) is illegal in both versions of the sport. Still, it results in harsher penalties in the women's game since any contact type is strictly prohibited.

8. Men's vs. women's game: Face-off differences

why are women's lacrosse sticks different

The final difference tackles the rules and regulations of the type of face-off that each gender plays.

In a men's game, after each goal, the two players line up either at midfield or on their respective restraining lines and lean over their crosses with crossed hands.

On the referee's whistle, they begin to fight for possession of the ball by forcing their opponent's stick down with both hands to create separation and scoop up the ground ball. The two players must be in a crouched position when fighting for the possession of the lacrosse ball.

The women's game does not allow physical contact between players during a face-off which makes it much different from men's lacrosse. Referred to as a "draw control" rather than a "face-off", each player must stay in their spot apart from each other and attempt to locate a loose ball.

Simultaneously, the players must position themselves in an advantageous position. The players must first gain control of it using their sticks instead of their hands. Finally, each central player in the women's game must stand toe to toe and throw the ball into the air at the whistle.

These variations require different techniques used by each team. Therefore, it is crucial to be aware of these differences when playing both genders' teams.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are girls' lacrosse sticks shallow?

The women's lacrosse sticks are shallow as they allow easier ball dislodgement. As contact, body, and stick-checking are forbidden in the women's game, the pockets are not too deep to prevent aggressive checking that boys are allowed. In addition, mesh pockets are also not allowed for the same reason.

How is women's lacrosse different from men's?

The major differences between men's and women's lacrosse include: safety equipment, players and positions, size of the field, sticks, face-offs, checking and more/less contact.

How deep is the pocket in a girl's lacrosse stick?

The depth of the lacrosse pocket should be slightly less than one ball deep to be legal and retain the most amount of hold. The sidewall string should interfere with your view of seeing the lacrosse ball whenever you hold the pocket at your eye level. But goalies should have deeper pockets - two or three lacrosse balls deep to prevent shooting and scoring goals.

Are women's lacrosse sticks different sizes?

Yes, women's lacrosse sticks are of different sizes for different players. Depending on the playing position, players on the field will have sticks between 35.5 and 43.25 inches, while goalies have bigger sticks up to 52 inches.

Does women's lacrosse have long sticks?

Women's lacrosse as a sport overall uses shorter sticks than the men's version of the sport, as the game requires no contact and less protective gear.


Overall, why are womens lacrosse sticks different than mens?

It's clear that men's and women's lacrosse have distinct differences, from their sticks to the size of their teams. The differences make each version of the sport unique and can provide players with special challenges regardless of their choice.

It's essential to keep in mind that whether you're playing men's or women's lacrosse, respect for your opponents and teammates is key.

Knowing the rules is essential to succeed in the field and work together as a team.

Letting go of personal biases or stereotypes while getting involved in this beautiful sport is necessary if we want everyone involved to be successful!

Freddy Woods

Freddy is the heart and soul of Lacrosse Runner. As a former athlete, Freddy is very passionate about Lacrosse. He keeps up with the sport's changes and innovations and often tests the new equipment released by the leading manufacturers. Read more here