A Lacrosse Game Or Match? → How To Avoid Mixing Them Up!

The sport of Lacrosse is an interesting one. On the one hand, you have the men’s version of the sport that is played on a 110 by a 60-yard field filled with contact and faceoffs to battle for control of the ball. On the other hand, you have the women’s version on a 120 by a 70-yard field with no contact and a toss-up instead of a faceoff. But when it comes to lacrosse, is it a game or a match?

Is it a lacrosse game or match? When it comes to lacrosse, it is classified as a game. A game is classified by there being one unit of play according to set rules to determine a winner. This means that there are not multiple rounds played to determine the standing of the player or team. This is different from sports that utilize matches in play.

Here, we are going to discuss the sport of lacrosse itself and how it is played. We are also going the difference between a game and a match so that you can easily distinguish between the two and perhaps even leave here a bit more knowledgeable than you were before.

If you want to know more about the game of Lacrosse, take a look at this course by Rob Pannell, where he shares pro tips on different aspects of the sport: conditioning, mental preparation and fundamentals of the game.

What Is the Difference Between A Game And A Match?

As mentioned previously, lacrosse is considered to be a game. The terms are often used interchangeably, but they do represent different versions of play in sports.


When an individual or a team is competing via playing a game, there are not multiple units (rounds) of play to determine the team’s or individual’s standing or whether or not they are the winner. One unit of play will directly affect the team or individual’s standing and whether or not they are the winner.


A match is a bit different, and if you have no idea what a match is or what it consists of you’re not going to know what you are watching. In a match, it is an event in which two or more individuals or teams participate in a competition consisting of one or more games. If the match consists of more than one game, there will be additional rules put into effect that will assist in selecting the overall winner of the event.

The term “match” is sometimes used synonymously with the word “game” in lacrosse. This interchangeability of term typically occurs in the female version of field lacrosse, which their games usually being referred to as matches.

When either term is used, it often just depends on where the person speaking originates from or whether or not it is a male or female event for the most part.

How Is the Game of Lacrosse Played?

In lacrosse, there are so many different variations and rules that it is almost very difficult to keep track of. 

For simplicity’s sake, however, we are going to focus on the men’s version of field lacrosse as it is the most popular and well-known version of the game today. Here’s a basic breakdown of the game:

In men’s field lacrosse, there are 2 teams with 10 players on each team.

  • On each team, there are going to be 3 attackmen who are similar to your forwards in soccer, 3 middles, 3 defensemen, and 1 goalie.
  • Four (4) of the players on each team are permitted to use long sticks of lengths from 52-72 inches long. This will typically be to be your defensemen and goalie.
  • The goalie has a net with a width of 12 inches on his stick.

The game is initiated by a faceoff.

  • In the faceoff, you will have 2 players from each team standing on the center X.
  • Behind the players will be 2 players on the wing area line of the field from each team.
  • They then await the signal of the referee to commence the game by blowing his whistle and then begin battling to take control of the ball.

Once possession of the ball is taken, the other players are released from their restraining lines, and the game ensues.

Lacrosse is called “the fastest-paced ball sport in the world.” Once the game is going, there is no slowing down or long pauses like in football or soccer. It is an intense and fast-paced game with the one goal of getting the ball into the opposing team’s net.

As I said, it is fast-paced. The game 60 minutes long and separated into four, 15-minute quarters.

Men’s field lacrosse tends to be very intense and frantic as well, and players are going to get hit. Due to the nature of the sport, players require a bit of equipment to keep themselves safe and also do what they need to in order to score points. This is what the lacrosse player uses:

  • Helmet and shoulder pads to protect themselves from hits, checks, and concussions
  • Attackmen and middle players utilize short netted lacrosse sticks of 40 t0 42 inches in length while defensemen and the goalie utilize long netted lacrosse sticks of 52 to 72 inches in length

Now that you know how the sport is played and the equipment that is needed, it is time to cover the difference between a game and a match so that you know what you are participating in if you decide to play or want to know at least what you are watching.

Read Also: What Is The Beginning Of A Lacrosse Game Called?

8 Tips For Getting Started In Lacrosse

Now that we got that all out of the way, I figure you must be interested in playing lacrosse. I can’t blame you. After learning that it was the oldest sport in North America and that it influenced most of my favorite sports, I can’t say I didn’t want to give it a shot either. 

Here some good tips to get started in lacrosse:

  1. Catch the ball as if it were an egg. This means move the net with the ball when you are catching it. If you just put your net where the ball is going and don’t sink the net back, the ball could bounce out of the net.
  2. Always face the passer when receiving the ball. This is universal in ball sports. Whether it is football, basketball, or soccer you should always be facing the passer so you know where the ball is going.
  3. Don’t directly face the receiver when passing the ball. Yet again another universal ball sports tip. This means keep an eye on who you are looking to pass to, but don’t square your body towards the receiver. Be sure to keep your body bladed (shoulder towards your opponent) to prevent the ball from being deflected or intercepted during the pass.
  4. Practice throwing and catching the ball with both hands. You aren’t actually using your hands but a stick. Practicing throwing and catching with the stick in either hand will increase your versatility and also provide you with more offensive and defensive options as a player.
  5. Be mobile. When I say be mobile, I mean to be mobile. Don’t stand in one spot waiting for the ball to be passed to you. You need to be moving to where the ball is going to be and not stationary to prevent it from being intercepted by the other team.
  6. Give mini lacrosse a shot. This is a great way for new players to become acclimated to the game, especially if the thought of getting hit by other players when you are just starting out sounds kind of scary. In mini lacrosse, there is no contact, which is good for a person starting out and on a budget in that you don’t need to worry about purchasing all the equipment that is used in men’s field lacrosse. The rules are different too, so for a newbie, this is a great option.
  7. Watch tv/live games.
  8. Watch videos/online courses: Because of the raise of awareness on the impact of minor details, more people are investing on formation, not only in the clubs but also at a personal level. That’s why videos and online courses like the one I mentioned at the beginning of the post by Rob Pannell are becoming more and more popular nowadays. 

Take a look at the course here: Players Academy.

Alright, now you know that lacrosse is typically called a game. However, the term can be used interchangeably with match, especially for the female participants of the sport.

You got a feel for how the game is played and some tips to get started. I hope you learned a lot. Now you have no excuse not to get on the field yourself. Grab your lacrosse gear and get out there!

Read Also: Lacrosse Goalie Gear


Hi, I'm Simon, and I am passionate about "other sports".

There are many other (and much more fun!) sports than football, soccer and hockey.

If you are looking for inspiration beyond the most popular sports in the world, then you have come to the right place.


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