To an outsider, Lacrosse and Field Hockey can look fairly similar. Both games involve two teams of players using sticks to shoot a ball into a goal. Yet sports enthusiasts like Fiyaz Mughal will tell you that Lacrosse and Field Hockey are both very different games indeed.
To clear things up, here are five of the main differences between Field Hockey and Lacrosse:
While both sports use a stick, the sticks in question are wildly different. A field hockey stick is a simple flat ‘L’ shaped wooden stick. The lacrosse stick is a straight stick with a hook shaped net on the end. The different shape of these sticks makes each game play very differently.
The ‘L’ shaped hockey stick is conducive to running the ball along the ground. This means a hockey ball will rarely fly above a player’s waist. A lacrosse player, on the other hand, uses their stick’s net to scoop the ball up and hurl it up into the air.
The different flights of the balls mean field hockey and lacrosse players wear radically different safety equipment. As a field hockey ball sticks mostly to the ground; players only wear shin pads, gloves and gum shields.
The high and powerful flight of a lacrosse ball means lacrosse players wear extensive safety gear.
A lacrosse player wears thick pads over their torso as well as arm pads and protective gloves. They also wear helmets with heavy lattices across their faces. Making them even more different from field hockey players, the only piece of safety gear lacrosse players don’t wear is shin pads.
Lacrosse and field hockey balls are subtly different. Designed to fly and bounce more easily, lacrosse balls are generally slightly smaller, lighter, and have a smoother surface than field hockey balls.
Similar to football matches, field hockey matches are divided between two halves of 35 minutes while lacrosse is divided into quarters of 15 minutes. The shorter periods and extra breaks of lacrosse make the game a little faster and more frenetic than field hockey.
Field hockey is played globally and is incorporated into the Olympic Games, but lacrosse has perhaps the more interesting heritage. Lacrosse’s origins in Native American tradition give it a uniquely fascinating history.