Field Hockey Vs. Lacrosse: The Ultimate Showdown

Field Hockey Vs. Lacrosse

While hockey and lacrosse are both very similar in many respects, there are also many significant differences. These include the goals, stick sizes or types, protective equipment, rules of play, and even the field itself. 

The two sports are often compared, whether it’s in the media or by fans. While each sport has its unique history, they both have their roots dating to a few centuries back. 

The two sports are played on a field with goals at either end using sticks. That is where the similarities end. In this article, we will discuss the two games in detail, outlining their differences and comparisons.

Field Hockey Vs. Lacrosse

The two games are played on a large field with a big ball, and both genders can play both sports. They’re both highly competitive and physically demanding athletic events. However, they’re also very different in many ways. Field Hockey has 11 players on each team, while lacrosse has ten players per team.

The Rules And Gameplay Of Field Hockey

Field hockey is a team sport played on an open field whose origins are not yet confirmed, though believed to originate from Egypt. It is known as hockey or field hockey in most countries and Gaelic field hockey in Ireland and Scotland. 

Players: Field hockey involves two teams of 11 players each., with the goalkeeper included. Five substitute players sit on the bench.

Stick and ball: The teams play with long-handled sticks designed to hit a ball into the opponents’ goal. The game is played with a small hard ball, similar to a tennis ball, but smaller.

Players can pass the ball back and forth to each other but must not use their hands. Instead, they must use the stick to hit the ball using any parts of their body to block and tackle their opponents. 

At the end of the match, the team with the highest goals wins unless the scores are even. Each team attacks at a different end of the field, and their goalkeeper guards that goal.

Duration: A typical field hockey game lasts for 70 minutes, consisting of two halves each at 35 minutes. The halftime is 5 minutes.

Field: The pitch measures about 91.4m long x 55m wide.

The Rules And Gameplay Of Lacrosse

Lacrosse is one of the rising sports in the United States, and that’s because it’s so much fun to play. If you are looking for a new sport to get involved with, you would be hard-pressed to find something more exciting than lacrosse.

Lacrosse is among the oldest sports in North America (Canada). Lacrosse has been around for centuries. The Native Americans were thought to be the game’s founders, but it was known as stickball back then. 

Players: Lacrosse is played between two teams of 10 players each. Each team has three offensive players, three midfielders, three defensive players, and a goalie on the field at any given time.

Stick and ball; Lacrosse is a field sport played between two teams of players using a long-handled stick called a “crosse” to catch, carry, and pass a rubber ball in an attempt to score by shooting the ball into a goal. 

Lacrosse, commonly called “lax,” is played with a hardball, similar to air hockey or soccer. The objective is to get the ball into the goal, which is called the “cage.” 

Players score by shooting the ball into the opposing team’s goal.

Duration; the game is about 60minutes long with four quarters of a 15-minute length. Half-time is 3-minutes long, and there is a 1-minute -long timeout allowed within the game.

A lacrosse game starts with the player on offence called “the dodger,” dodging through defenders using quickness and agility. 

The dodger has the option of shooting the ball, passing it to teammates, or running with it until one of three situations occurs: A defender tags him with his stick, he places the ball down on the ground, or he attempts a shot on goal. 

Field; the field is 100m long and 55m wide.

Field Hockey Vs. Lacrosse: Similarities

Both games are similar in some particular ways. In the rest of their attributes, they are as different as night and day.

  • Both sports are played on a large field with a long stick to hit or carry a ball to get it into the goal.
  • Both games are played on large playing fields with goals at each end.
  • Both lacrosse and field hockey boasts a fast pace that can see a player reach top speeds in short bursts. Both sports require a high level of athleticism. 
  • Both sports are played on an outdoor field.
  • In both, the ball must cross the goal line to score points. 
  • Both games are high-scoring, with some players specializing in offensive play, some play defensively, and others play both offence and defence. 
  • Both are traditional NCAA sports.
  • Both require excellent hand-eye coordination. 

Field Hockey Vs. Lacrosse:  Differences

There are many ways to compare two sports, but perhaps the best way is to examine how each sport plays. 

While this comparison will not be an exhaustive list of all differences between field hockey and lacrosse, it will highlight some of the critical differences that make these two sports so similar and different at the same time.

Protective equipment: Lacrosse players wear protective gear such as mouthguards, helmets, and goggles, whereas field hockey players wear shin guards.

Field size; Another difference between these two sports is a matter of size and scope. Lacrosse fields are more prominent than those in field hockey.

Body contact; No form of contact is allowed in field hockey, unlike in lacrosse.

Olympics: Field hockey is one of the few sportswomen can play at a professional level, and it is also an Olympic sport while lacrosse is not.

Ball size; Field hockey has a ball that is larger and heavier than a lacrosse ball.

Stick type: Field hockey sticks have a curved face, while lacrosse sticks have a flat face. While the lacrosse stick is designed to catch and carry the ball, the field hockey stick checks opponents and propels the ball along the ground.

Ball deflection: Field hockey balls can be deflected by sticks or hit out of bounds, but players cannot deflect.

Duration: Field hockey is played in 70 minutes, while lacrosse is played for 60 minutes.

On-field gameplay: Lacrosse players are also allowed to lift their sticks above their heads and strike the ball with it below the crossbar, which is not allowed in field hockey.

Surface: Field hockey is a team sport played on grass or turf. Lacrosse is played on a hard surface.

The game’s history; Lacrosse is the oldest of the two games, dating back to native North American tribes in the 17th century. Lacrosse has been around for hundreds of years before field hockey was even invented.

 Both sports were played in the 19th century, but lacrosse was played more often than field hockey.

Pace and Aggressiveness: When it comes to the game itself, lacrosse is a little more fast-paced than field hockey.

As compared to Field Hockey, Lacrosse is way more aggressive. It doesn’t matter if the game is played in schools or at the professional level; all forms of lacrosse are more physical than Field Hockey.

For example, lacrosse is faster-paced because players only have three seconds to move the ball from one end of the field to the other. In infield hockey, if a player takes too long, a penalty will be called.

The number of players: Field hockey has 11 players each while lacrosse has ten players each.

Which Is The Best Game?

Both sports are highly entertaining and are played all over the world. The field hockey rules are set by the International Hockey Federation (FIH), while the United States Lacrosse Association sets the rules for lacrosse. 

These two sports have been competing for attention since they emerged from English public schools. Lacrosse and field hockey are both fun, exciting sports that require a lot of skill. 

That being said, it’s hard to pick a favourite between the two! We’re sure there are many things we could say to go on and on about each sport, but we’ll leave this debate up to you.


In the end, it all comes down to personal preference. If you’re a thrill-seeker who wants to test your endurance and measure yourself against some of the best athletes in the world, field hockey is for you. 

If you prefer something more laid-back and relaxed, lacrosse might be a better fit for you. 

The bottom line is that both sports are fun. And whether you decide to play one or another, we hope that you have a great time while doing it! We hope you’ve enjoyed our ultimate showdown between these two fantastic sports!

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