Lacrosse and field hockey is often confused with being the same sport. While the two do have similarities, they are not the same and cannot be used interchangeably. However, this confusion is quite common, so we’re going to aim to clear it up!
To understand how lacrosse and field hockey are not the same, you must know how each game is played. In lacrosse, players use sticks with small attached nets to toss the ball to each other, with the ultimate aim to throw the ball into the goal. Field hockey also aims to get the ball into the goal, but players use curved sticks to push the ball to each other.
This is how the two games are played and is also the fundamental difference between the two. It seems easy to see how the two games are different now, so then why are they often confused to be the same? Keep reading to find out!
How Are Lacrosse And Field Hockey Similar?
Lacrosse and field hockey are often thought to be the same sport due to the similarities between the two sports. We’ve listed these down for you below!
- Fast-Paced Games: Both lacrosse and field hockey are fast-paced games that involve a lot of running on the field. For this reason, athletes of both sports need to have considerable strength and endurance.
- Field: The most obvious similarity, and the one most responsible for people confusing the two sports, is that they’re both played on a field.
- In the goal: Both sports also have the same aim: getting the ball in the goal. In lacrosse and field hockey, teams aim to shoot the ball into their opposing team’s goal. Thus, both sports also have goalkeepers.
How Are Lacrosse And Field Hockey Different?
There’s no denying that the two sports have some similarities. Nonetheless, they’re more different than they are similar. We’ve listed the differences between the two sports for you below.
- Mode of play: The most significant difference is the one we already mentioned. In lacrosse, the ball is thrown between players, while in field hockey, the ball is passed between players and remains firmly on the ground.
- Ball Size: Because lacrosse involves the tossing of balls, the ball used in lacrosse is smaller than the ball used in field hockey.
- Protective Gear: Due to the different way the two games are played, the players’ protective gear is also different. In lacrosse, players must wear mouth guards and eye protection since the ball is being tossed in the air. On the other hand, field hockey players wear mouth guards and shin guards since the ball remains near the ground.
- Playing Season: Both sports are also played at a different time during the year. While lacrosse is played throughout the spring and summer, field hockey is only played during the fall.
- Team Size: Lacrosse consists of 10 players per team. On the contrary, field hockey has 15 players per team, out of which 11 are on the field at a time.
- Timing: Field hockey matches are 70 minutes long, divided into two halves of 35 minutes each. Lacrosse is 60 minutes long, divided into 4 quarters of 15 minutes each.
- Female Dominance: Field hockey, at least in the US, is majorly dominated by women. You’re likely to find all-women teams, and in some areas, it’s an entirely all-female sport. Lacrosse, on the other hand, has more gender equality. You’ll be able to find teams that are all men, all women, or a combination.
- Olympic Sport: Okay, this isn’t a significant difference, but it is worth noting that field hockey is an Olympic sport, while lacrosse is not.
Is Lacrosse Older Than Field Hockey?
Yes! Lacrosse is much older than hockey. However, many people assume that field hockey is the older sport since it is more well-known. Historians estimate that lacrosse originated around the year 1100, whereas hockey came about in the 1800s. This makes lacrosse roughly 700 years older than hockey.
Of course, when lacrosse first emerged, it wasn’t known as lacrosse. Even though Lacrosse is Canada’s national sport, it actually originated in North America. Back then, lacrosse was known as stickball and was actually wildly popular. It wasn’t until 1636 that the sport was given the name lacrosse by Jean de Brebeuf.
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Even though the lacrosse and field hockey are two different sports, playing lacrosse may actually be able to improve your field hockey abilities! Since the two games have different seasons, athletes can easily play them both. Due to their similarities, field hockey players can easily pick up lacrosse too.
So, how does lacrosse help field hockey players? In a vast variety of ways, such as:
- Improving agility
- Building stamina
- Improving hand-eye coordination
- Helps develop offensive and defensive play strategies
You may be surprised to know that many National Hockey League (NHL) athletes are also avid lacrosse players. This includes players such as Bobby Orr, Sam Gagne, Steve Larmer, and Brian Bellows.
Is Lacrosse Similar To Other Sports?
Now that we know how lacrosse is similar to field hockey, you may be wondering if there are any other sports that lacrosse is similar to. The answer is there are! Lacrosse is also similar to two very famous sports: basketball and football.
In lacrosse and football, players are set up to best allow them to advance the ball into the goal. Both sports aim to get the ball in the net but the strategies employed by players in different positions are quite similar.
Lacrosse and basketball players on the defense need to guard the ball and hold off their opponents. Similarly, if you’re on the offense, you need to advance the ball to the goal. Offensive strategies in basketball and lacrosse are very similar.
However, lacrosse is a faster game than basketball. Primarily, this is because a lacrosse fielder is bigger than the basketball court. Hence, players need to be able to move faster.
The primary reason football and lacrosse are similar is the heavy contact involved in both sports. This makes both sports intense and leaves room for player injuries too. However, how the games are rough is different. In football, players block and tackle each other head-on. In lacrosse, however, players must dodge getting hit by other players’ sticks.
Because both lacrosse and football are full-contact sports, players also have to wear similar protective gear. A lacrosse field and football field are also similar, but a lacrosse field is bigger in size than a football one.
This means that there’s a lot more running involved in lacrosse than in football. Hence, lacrosse is a much more physically demanding sport compared to football. It’s also much faster, with few breaks given to players in between quarters.
Lacrosse has a rich history, having originated nearly 900 years ago. However, it remains relatively less popular than other similar sports, so it’s often confused to be the same as field hockey.
With this article, you can rest assured that field hockey and lacrosse are different sports that share some commonalities.