Women’s Lacrosse 101

This is just a quick refresher of women’s lacrosse for those who are just getting started in the game. Women’s lacrosse is a spring sport played on a regulation soccer field. There are 12 players – three attack, five midfielders, three defenders and one goalie. The game is a 50 minute, two-half match that starts with a draw between two players.

The women’s game is designed for less physical contact than the men’s game and therefore requires a lot less gear.


Female players are pretty much set with a stick, head and some goggles. Some female players choose to wear gloves (but they are not required).

Most popular lacrosse brands make gear for the women’s game, but deBeer is the most popular. It is the brand of choice for all Division One NCAA women’s lacrosse teams.


The rules of the women’s game requires shafts to be between 35.5 and 43.25 inches in length.

Sticks come in a wide variety of materials but aluminum is the most common. Aluminum shafts offer durability and are great for those just getting started.


Required for the women’s game, goggles protect the eyes and temple from being hit with another player’s stick or the ball. All of the goggles on LACROSSE.COM have passed the American Society for Testing and Materials standards.

Goggles should fit snugly against the head but not be overly tight. The bands will adjust to keep the frame firmly in place. They should sit over the tops of the cheeks.

A good tip is to wear them around the house. This will help you get used to wearing them before game time.


Gloves are optional in women’s lacrosse. They offer protection and warmth. Women’s gloves have light padding around the knuckles and added grip on the palm.


Women’s lacrosse heads are designed to be slimmer and shallower than men’s, making it tougher to cradle. US Lacrosse regulations say that the top of the ball should remain above the top of the sidewall after pressure has been applied to a ball dropped into the pocket of a horizontally held crosse.


Not required, but many female players choose to wear them. Most mouthguards cover both the upper and lower teeth. You want to choose a mouthguard that allows speaking and does not limit breathing and stays firmly in place during action.



While men’s lacrosse uses a white ball, women’s lacrosse tends to use a yellow ball. Since 2000, NCAA rules state that the ball must be white, yellow, or orange, and must be between 7.75 and 8 inches in circumference and weigh between 5 and 5.5 ounces.


The goalie is the one exception in women’s lacrosse – much like a men’s goalie – she wears a helmet, throat guard, chest protection, shin guards, padded pants and gloves. Goalies in both women’s and men’s lacrosse use goalie sticks with a much wider head to help block shots on goal. Women’s goalie shafts are regulated from 35-½ to 48 inches.



What about the kilt? A lacrosse tradition, most women choose to wear compression or regular shorts underneath.


  • kylie

    What is the best way to stay warm if your a defender in women’s lacrosse??

  • Richard Hobson

    My daughter’s HS coach will not allow the players to wear gloves, even in cold weather. She says they impede feel. Any opinions? I think it would help when it’s cold.

    • Rien Zabor

      That decision should be made based on the players personal opinion and experience. The functional aspect of keeping your hands warm is a proven benefit and if that helps keep their hands loose, that’s better than stiff cold fingers. Gloves impeding feel is understandable as well, but you also see NFL quarterbacks using gloves on their throwing hands so it likely does not have that much of an impact on field.

  • Michelle Reiss-Top

    RE: Mouthguards… “Not required”????!!! Who wrote this? Who proof-read? Was there a female lacrosse player involved at all? Mouthguards where the original required safety equipment for the women’s game. Have been for at least 25 years when I started playing. All through my reffing, coaching and now parenting days. Just checked the latest rulebook in case there was a radical rule change I didn’t know about. Nope. Sho’nuf. Still required. Lacrosse.com you guys need to fix that asap. Old post or not. Only thing to know is for HS and younger they can’t be clear or white. College doesn’t care what color they are.