- Rising in popularity in the United States, lacrosse is played by boys and girls. The game of lacrosse is fast paced for both sexes, but spectators will note one major difference and a few minor differences in the sport for girls and boys. The most obvious distinction between boys’ and girls’ lacrosse is that boy’s lacrosse is a contact sport and girls’ lacrosse is strictly a non-contact sport. Team size, length of game, and field dimensions are also varied between girls and boys lacrosse.
A Boys' Contact Sport versus a Girls' Non Contact Sport
Boys' lacrosse is a contact sport for the high school, college and adult levels. Players are allowed to contact sticks as well as “check” or make contact above the waist within specified guidelines. Contact lacrosse requires players to wear a helmet, padded gloves, a mouth guard and pads on the shoulder and arms. Recreational youth lacrosse for boys below high school age is often played as a non-contact sport.
Girls' lacrosse is considered a non-contact sport although girls are allowed to contact sticks against each other during play. Non-contact lacrosse requires players to wear protective eye goggles and wear a mouthpiece, however the goalie must wear pads on the neck and chest and a helmet. Optional gloves may be worn to play the non-contact version of lacrosse.
A boys’ lacrosse field is 110 yards long and 60 yards wide with the goals spread 80 yards apart, leaving 15 yards behind behind each goal. This set up for field lacrosse is standard for boys' youth, high school, men's college, and adult levels.
The lacrosse playing field for girls is longer than the field for boys. Generally, girls’ lacrosse goals are spaced 90-100 yards apart with 10 yards behind each goal making the girls lacrosse field 120 yards in length. But field sizes can vary depending on the playing level of girls’ lacrosse for youth recreational, high school, college and adult leagues.
Number of Players: The Difference in Boys Lacrosse and Girls Lacrosse
Boys' lacrosse is played with ten members on each team: a goalie, three “defense”, three “midfielders” and three “attacks”. Lacrosse rules require four players to remain on the defensive half of the field and three players to remain on the offensive half of the field throughout the game.
Twelve members make up a girls' lacrosse team: a goalie, five “defense” players and six “attack” players. During game play, five players must stay on the defensive half of the field and four players must stay on the offensive half of the lacrosse playing field.
Game Time Difference in Boys' Lacrosse and Girls' Lacrosse
Boys' and men’s lacrosse games are divided into four quarters. Games usually consist of four 15-minute quarters with a ten-minute break between the second and third quarters. Boys’ youth leagues may play 12-minute or 10-minute quarters.
Girls’ lacrosse games are generally divided into two halves. Youth recreational leagues for girls and high school girls’ teams play two 20-25 minute halves with a break in between. The maximum time allowed for college level women’s games is 60 minutes with two 30-minute halves.
The major difference between lacrosse for boys and girls is the amount of contact allowed. A contact sport, boys' lacrosse requires more safety equipment, fewer team players and longer game times than girls' lacrosse. Lacrosse game rules on the US Lacrosse website provide information about more differences between boys' lacrosse and girls' lacrosse. US Lacrosse has created an educational video, "This is Lacrosse" which shows clips of boys and girls playing contact and non contact lacrosse.
The US Lacrosse website
DID YOU KNOW THAT GIRLS AND BOYS STICKS ARE DIFFERENT? Boys sticks have pockets that the ball sits in. Girls sticks have virtually no pocket. Try catching with a girls stick or throwing with a boys stick! It is very different! If your son is having an easier time catching than your daughter, there is a reason! Dads if you have a daughter playing please get a girls stick to toss around with her! Moms, if you have a son playing please get a boys stick to toss around with him!