Why Do Lacrosse Players Drop Their Sticks

Why Do Lacrosse Players Drop Their Sticks? (Explained)

You can’t just go about throwing your lacrosse stick around. There will be a foul called on you if you do that. The goal will also be called back if it was scored during a set play in which your stick was thrown.

So, you may find it confusing—why do lacrosse players drop their sticks? 

Below, we will look at this gesture in much more depth and also go into similar lacrosse rules. Let’s find out.

Quick Summary 

When a goal is scored, the players involved throw their lacrosse sticks on purpose. This allows officials to verify that the stick complies with Fairplay standards. The referee or the opposing team’s coach may call for a stick check.

The Reason Lacrosse Players Drop Their Sticks

Dropping the stick is a serious no-no and will result in a penalty during a professional lacrosse match. The officials will nullify your team’s goal if it was scored on account of the drop. 

Improperly handling your lacrosse sticks in such a way is counted as bad sportsmanship and results in punishment.

On the other hand, after scoring a goal, the players willfully throw their lacrosse sticks. This allows the officials to ensure the stick is following Fairplay regulations. When the other team’s referee or the coach deems it necessary, they may conduct a stick check.

A referee will inspect your lacrosse stick, pocket, and shot strings for any signs of manipulation. 

If its net pocket and pole are deformed in a certain manner, it becomes much simpler to capture the ball and keep it out of the reach of the opposition team.

The referee will also look for additional strings, which provide a little bit of resistance and make it easier to make direct shots and passes. Having a net with extra strings is like having a leg up on the competition. 

Can Lacrosse Players Intentionally Drop Their Sticks?

Sometimes, a player can play this action deliberately, serving a strategic purpose. Let’s check out the top three situations.

  1. To Keep Control

Skilled lacrosse players understand the importance of ball possession and use various strategies to keep it in their hands for as long as possible. 

When being stopped adequately by a defender, dropping the stick is a good move. 

Defenders may examine sticks, yet not their hands in lacrosse. This means that if an attacking player drops their cross quickly during a check, they continue to manipulate the ball using their hands without getting hit. 

So long as the checker remains in contact with the abandoned stick, play may continue even while the player rolls away.

  1. To Save The Goal

When playing defense in a lacrosse game, it’s important to be tough and use a variety of tactics to prevent the other team from scoring. 

When out of position, defenders might utilize sticks thrown or hurled to the ground to obstruct passing and shooting paths. 

The abandoned items may create a solid barrier, buying time for the other defenders to get back into position. 

As a warning mechanism, players float sticks near the goal mouth, forcing attackers to sidestep the makeshift obstacles rather than shoot at the goal itself.

  1. To Start Over

Not only can dropping sticks be used to restart the game, but players can also use it tactically to get an edge over the competition. 

This strategy helps the offense to gain a fast restart without committing a turnover or violating the shot clock while in a challenging circumstance. 

It allows for a change of scenery on the playing field and the potential for a fresh attacking start.

But intentionally dropping sticks to gain advantages will be considered a foul if caught. 

Unless a player is checked legally or loses control of their stick by accident, they should have custody of it at all times.

Also learn: Is Lacrosse Dangerous?

Why Do Women’s Lacrosse Drop Their Sticks?

Women’s lacrosse sticks differ from men’s because of the changes in the regulations and style of play between the two forms of the sport. 

Also, the regulations for limiting contact in women’s and boy’s lacrosse are distinct. Finesse and timing are essential in a game of women’s lacrosse. While the emphasis in boy’s lacrosse is on strength and speed.

Women’s lacrosse sticks must have conventional stringing on the pockets, unlike men’s lacrosse, where mesh is allowed. The ball’s top must be visible above the pocket’s sidewall. 

Therefore, it is more challenging for women to handle the stick and shoot the puck. Sticks for offensive players (and one midfielder) may be between 52 and 72 inches; defensive players’ sticks can be between 40 and 72 inches; and the goalie’s stick can be any length between 40 and 72 inches. 

The size of a women’s lacrosse stick must be between 35 and 43 1/4 inches, while the length of a goalie’s stick must be between 35 and 48 inches.

According to the women’s regulation, when a goal occurs, the player’s stick must be examined to ensure it was not tampered with. 

To facilitate a speedy stick check by the referee, the practice of dropping one’s stick after a goal was instituted. The plan will be disallowed if it is determined that the stick was used illegally.

Do Men’s Lacrosse Players Also Drop Sticks? 

In lacrosse, a man may score with either his foot or stick. Coaches or officials may request a stick check after scoring a goal. 

But this is not mandatory. In reality, dropping your stick during play constitutes a penalty in men’s lacrosse.

Men in lacrosse can score with either their feet or their lacrosse stick. 

In contrast, women may only use their sticks. As a consequence, stick manipulation has become a significant issue.

What About The Goalies?

Goalies can employ their arms, hands, and sticks to deflect shots, collect the ball and send it in another direction, or pass the ball. 

But they can’t keep possession of the ball for over four seconds out of the crease. 

It’s also against the rules to touch an opponent’s stick while trying to shoot or pass.

How goalies can use their hands in lacrosse:

  • They can use sticks to block shots. 
  • As long as the ball is inside the crease, the goalie can use his hands to make the save. Once they have the ball in the palm of their hand or the grip of their stick, they are in complete command.
  • Goalkeepers have the option of using their hands while passing or clearing the ball. When starting a play or clearing their defensive zone, they may toss the ball hands-on or underhand.

There is no pocket regulation for goalie sticks, but other aspects, such as shaft length, may be inspected. A referee won’t be able to assess your depth, and there isn’t one.

If a goaltender takes the ball out of their crease, an opponent might check their stick. 

Additionally, the goalie’s stick may be examined to determine whether they pinch the ball beyond the crease while within the crease.

Technically, a referee might inspect a goaltender’s such, but only for length. If it measured less than 40 inches or more than 72 inches, it would be against the law.

How Do You Know If The Lacrosse Stick Is Legal?

Knowing the regulations of sticks is crucial for every lacrosse player. Breaking the law not only results in a penalty but also in the inability to play with the stick till it is corrected. 

Knowing how to identify a fake lacrosse stick helps you avoid using one. Here’s a quick checklist of things to check for and repair.

  • The pocket is the best place to do a stick check by yourself. You just put a ball in the pocket and raise the stick at your eye level.
    It is against the rules to have the ball sitting entirely below the sidewall. You’re okay to proceed if the ball is flush with or slightly above the sidewall.
  • The lacrosse head should not have any sharp edges. 
  • The stick length of the midfielders should be 40-42″ (Short stick) 
  • The stick length of the defenders should be 52-72″.
  • The stick length of the goalie should be 40-72″.
  • The length of the lacrosse head should be 10″.
  • The width of the lacrosse head should be six and ½-inches at the top, a minimum of 3 and ½ inches at the middle, and at least 3-inches at the bottom. 
  • Make sure your shooting sting is no more than four inches long, counting down from the crown of your head.
  • It is illegal for tape to reach the neck of a lacrosse head.

How Is Women’s Lacrosse Game Different Than Men’s?

How Is Women's Lacrosse Game Different Than Men's?

There are just a few items to consider:

High Degree of Aggression and Physical Contact 

When playing against other men, teams are permitted extensive physical contact. In the game for women, this is against the rules.

Different Playing Equipment  

The ball is carried in a pocket on the end of a men’s lacrosse stick. Women’s sticks feature a smaller net, making it easier to maneuver, pass, or strike the ball (instead of letting it fly a long distance).

There is also a difference in the allowed stick length between these two sports. More protective gear is used by men’s teams as well.

Total Number of Players in a Game 

There are 10 players on a men’s squad and 12 on a women’s team.

Scales of Fields 

Both men’s and women’s teams compete on fields that are 110 yards long and 60 yards wide

The fundamentals of the game remain the same regardless of the variations in rules and regulations (such as face-offs and the usage of the 8-meter and 12-meter arcs), with each side attempting to score as many goals as possible while preventing their opponent from doing the same.

Last Thoughts: Why Do Lacrosse Players Drop Their Sticks?

By now, you are clear about why lacrosse players drop their sticks. During a women’s lacrosse game, it’s mandatory to do it after every goal occurs. But in a men’s lacrosse match, players would do it only if the referee recommended it. 

However, some players can do it as part of their game strategy. But if the referee detects the deliberate drop of the stick, it would go under the game’s rules violation.

Frequently Asked Questions


While Playing Lacrosse, Why Do Players Often Drop Their Sticks?

There are several reasons why lacrosse players put down their sticks during games. A slip of the hand, a hard collision, an inappropriate pass, or even just a little lapse in attention may all lead to this.

When Playing Lacrosse, Can Players Touch The Ball With Their Hands?

Only the goalkeepers are allowed to touch the ball. Everyone else must use a lacrosse stick, whether picking up, passing, shooting, or catching the ball. Any player within five yards of the ball or possessing it can body check their opponent.

Players are not allowed to touch the ball physically, the personnel handling it, or each other. Any player who doesn’t abide by the rules will be kicked out of the game and given a penalty similar to being hit by the ball.

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