How to get started playing lacrosse
It is never too late or too soon to start playing lacrosse. Obviously players who begin playing in elementary school or middle school will have an advantage when they arrive in high school but in my 30+ years around the sport I have seen players start as late as Junior's in high school who have gone on to have successful division I careers !
The first thing that any lacrosse player needs to get started is a lacrosse stick. As you can see from this web site or from any sporting goods store that sticks range greatly in price. When first starting out, DO NOT purchase an expensive stick, all higher-end stick heads are narrower than starter sticks which make it difficult to throw and catch when first starting out. BAMALAX recommends the GAIT ICON complete stick which is perfect for all age group players that are starting out. However, be prepared to replace this stick during the first season because once a player begins to develop their skills they will graduate to a stick that will allow them to control the ball better like the INTREPID head.
All players will need the following to participate:
BAMALAX does provide a fantastic starter kit that will include everything needed to get started at a very affordable price.
For players in the Birmingham area you can visit www.BYLL.org for league information as well as registration and more general information about lacrosse. The main resource for lacrosse of all level is the US lacrosse foundation which can be located at www.uslacrosse.org.
Lacrosse is a fun, physically demanding sport that requires good agility and quickness but allows players of all sizes to compete. Unlike football, smaller players can be just as successful on a lacrosse field as long as they can throw, catch and quickly move from one area to another. There are four positions on a lacrosse field that depending on a player's physical attributes and stick skills coaches will help place the players in. The positions are:
Goalie - Uses a larger stick and padding will include a chest protector and throat guard. Goalies must have good eye hand coordination and be willing to face a solid rubber ball that can travel upwards of 100 miles an hour. Former soccer and ice hockey goalies are perfect for this lacrosse position as well as ex-baseball catchers.
Midfielders - Probably to most important position on the lacrosse field because these players play both offense and defense. There are three midfielders on the field at all times and typically substitute every 2-3 minutes. Since midfielders spend there time running up and down a 110 yard field a typical lacrosse team may have up to four sets of midfield lines consisting of 3 players each. Midfield is a great position for newer players since they have a greater opportunity for playing time since midfielders substitute frequently. Midfielders must have decent speed and good endurance since they will play both offense and defense.
Attackmen- On attack a typical team will have their most highly skilled stick handlers. Attackmen only stay on the offensive side of the field and are not required to play defense unless the opposing team is attempting to clear the ball from their defensive zone. Attackmen are required to control the offense and must be able to dodge using both their right and left hands.
Defensemen - A defensive player will use a stick that is 6' long to gain an advantage on an attackman to create distance to prevent that attackman from penetrating to the goal. Defensemen must have quick feet but do not have to be the fastest players on the field. Defensemen must like contact and have to be aggressive to recognize offensive movement and provide protection for the team's goaltender.
Once a player learns to throw and catch and is placed in a position the rules of the game are learned rather easily. Each team must have ten players on a field, (1) goalie (3) defensemen (3) attackmen (3) midfielders. Each team must have a minimum of 4 players in the defensive zone and 3 players in the offensive zone (each zone is separated by a midfield line). The game starts with a face off at the middle of the field and the object is to run or pass the ball down the field to get into a position to shoot on a 6' X 6' goal. Lacrosse has both technical and personal fouls to protect the players. Technical fouls such as off sides are non-injury threatening fouls and carry a 30 second penalty, personal fouls are more serious in nature such as slashing or cross checking and result in penalties ranging from 1-3 minutes depending on the severity.
For complete rules go to www.uslacrosse.org and you can learn more about the game. For complete equipment selection, visit BAMALAX's various equipment categories.