I’ve seen all different kinds of lacrosse sticks. What’s the difference? What should I use?
Physical education soft lacrosse sticks are gender-neutral. Standard lacrosse sticks are specific to either the men’s or women’s game, and due to fundamental differences in the two games, the sticks are very different in pocket depth and handling. Therefore it is desirable to use the physical education soft lacrosse sticks in the co-ed classroom. When students go on to play competitive lacrosse, they begin to play with regular lacrosse sticks. For your classroom we recommend the STX Ball or McWhipit brand sticks with all plastic molded heads (no mesh).

Do I need to have protective equipment for my PE class?
US Lacrosse recommends using soft lacrosse equipment for all physical education classes. Extensive research has determined that no additional protective gear needs to be worn by players using this equipment and following the rules for modified lacrosse play found the Physical Education Lacrosse Curriculum. Teachers using standard men’s or women’s lacrosse sticks and standard lacrosse balls, even in a non-contact setting, MUST equip each player with approved eye protection and a mouthguard. A bonus - soft lacrosse equipment is much less expensive than standard lacrosse equipment.

Can the sticks be used without the little strap on the head?
Sometimes the small strap/guard attached to the head of the soft lacrosse sticks snaps or breaks. This piece is optional, and does not exist on standard lacrosse sticks. It is there to aid students when learning the game, but can be removed when they become more skilled. If the strap breaks, the stick is still fully functional, just play on! Or, replacement straps can usually be ordered from stick suppliers.

It seems like lacrosse has a lot of contact and stick hitting—how do I teach that in my classroom?
It is true that lacrosse allows for different degrees of safe and allowable contact depending on whether boys’ or girls’ lacrosse is being played, however contact is secondary to the flow, defensive footwork, passing, catching, and skill of the game. Women’s lacrosse allows only "stick checking" which is safe, stick to stick contact for the purpose of dislodging the ball from the stick within safety guidelines (rules can be found by clicking here). This is why women only need to eye protection (which guards the face from ball contact, which is rare) and a mouthguard.

The men’s game allows more liberty with limited stick to body contact also allowed, and body contact within the rules. The purpose of lacrosse in the physical education environment is to introduce players to the key skills of the game, tactics, and movement. They can fully enjoy the lacrosse experience in a non-contact environment. Contact should not be taught until students enter competitive lacrosse programs. In those lacrosse programs, contact as a final skill once all others have been mastered and is taught responsibly if the coach has been trained through the US Lacrosse coaching education program.

Teacher Tips

Basic rules for SAFE non-contact lacrosse physical education play:

  • Use soft lacrosse sticks and soft lacrosse balls only
  • No stick to stick contact
  • No body to body or body to stick contact
  • Two hands on the stick at all times
  • Maintain control of your body at all times
  • No covering the ball with your stick
  • Respect your teammate and opponents at all times

Optional additional rules for increased safety, interaction, and fun:

  • No more than 2 players after a groundball at one time
  • Three passes before shooting
  • Three second count for good defensive positioning. If the offensive player does not pass during the count, the defender gets the ball.

For specific rules of play for 3v3, 5v5 and 7v7 play in physical education classes, see the Physical Education Curriculum.

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