Lacrosse is a team sport played with a lacrosse stick and a lacrosse ball. It is the oldest organized sport in North America, with its origins in the indigenous people of North America as early as the 12th century. The game was extensively modified by European colonists, reducing the violence to create its current collegiate and professional form.
Players use the head of the lacrosse stick to carry, pass, catch, and shoot the ball into the goal. The sport has a few versions that have different sticks, fields, rules, and equipment: field lacrosse, women's lacrosse, and box lacrosse. The men's games, field lacrosse (outdoor) and box lacrosse (indoor), are contact sports and all players wear protective gear: helmet, gloves, shoulder pads, and elbow pads. The women's game is played outdoors and does not allow body contact but does allow stick-to-stick contact.
Women's lacrosse (or girls' lacrosse), sometimes shortened to lax, is a sport with twelve players on the field at a time (including the goalkeeper). Originally played by indigenous peoples of the Americas, the modern women's game was introduced in 1890 at the St Leonard's School in St Andrews, Scotland. The rules of women's lacrosse differ significantly from men's field lacrosse. The two are often considered to be different sports with a common root.
The object of the game is to use a long-handled stick (known as a crosse or lacrosse stick) to catch, cradle, and pass a solid rubber lacrosse ball in an effort to score by hurling the ball into an opponent's goal. Cradling is when a player moves their wrists and arms in a semi-circular motion to keep the ball in the pocket of the stick's head using centripetal force. The head of the lacrosse stick has a mesh or leather net strung into it that allows the player to hold the ball. Defensively, the object is to keep the opposing team from scoring and to dispossess them of the ball through the use of stick checking and body positioning. The rules of women's lacrosse are different from the men's lacrosse game. The equipment required to play is also different from the men's. In the United States, women are only required to wear eyewear or lacrosse goggles and a mouth guard. The stick has restrictions too, as it must be a certain length and the pocket must be shallow enough to show the ball above the side when held at eye level.