Why Do Women’s Lacrosse Players Drop Their Sticks?

Women’s lacrosse is an exhilarating sport, combining elements of skill, strategy, and teamwork. It is a unique and fascinating game with its own set of rules and regulations. One aspect of women’s lacrosse that often perplexes newcomers and spectators is the practice of women’s lacrosse players dropping their sticks during the game. This seemingly strange action serves an important purpose in the sport and is an integral part of the game’s history and development. In this blog, we will explore why women’s lacrosse players drop their sticks and the significance of this practice.

Understanding the Game

Before delving into why women’s lacrosse players drop their sticks, it’s essential to understand the basics of the sport. Women’s lacrosse is a non-contact sport played on a rectangular field with teams of 12 players each. The objective of the game is to score goals by propelling a small rubber ball into the opponent’s net using a crosse (a stick with a mesh pocket). The game is fast-paced, with a focus on passing, catching, and shooting skills, as well as intricate strategies to outmaneuver the opposing team.

Stick Dropping: A Unique Quirk

In women’s lacrosse, the crosse is designed to be a lightweight and minimalistic piece of equipment. Unlike the men’s version of the sport, women’s lacrosse rules prohibit physical contact and body checking. Due to these restrictions, the crosse is used for controlled ball movement rather than for body checking opponents. It is for this reason that women’s lacrosse players do not wear padding or protective gear like their male counterparts.

Now, let’s get to the heart of the matter – why do women’s lacrosse players drop their sticks? When a player is checked by an opponent, and her crosse is knocked out of her hands, she is required to drop her stick immediately as a way of conceding the foul. This dropping of the stick serves several essential purposes in the game.

1. Safety First

Women’s lacrosse is known for its emphasis on safety. The practice of dropping the stick is a crucial safety measure that helps reduce the risk of injuries. Since women’s lacrosse players don’t wear the same level of protective gear as men, the rules prioritize safety to minimize the chances of injuries, especially to the head and upper body. Dropping the stick when checked prevents players from retaliating or attempting dangerous plays with their sticks.

2. Sportsmanship and Fair Play

The act of dropping the stick also promotes sportsmanship and fair play. It signifies that a player has recognized a foul and is willingly giving up possession to the opposing team. This is in line with the principles of good sportsmanship, ensuring that the game remains civil and respectful. It discourages unsportsmanlike behavior, such as arguing with officials or opponents, which is penalized in women’s lacrosse.

3. Quick Restart

Another practical aspect of stick dropping is that it allows for a quick restart of play. When a player drops her stick, the officials can assess the foul, and the opposing team can gain possession and continue the game without significant interruptions. This helps maintain the fast-paced nature of women’s lacrosse.

4. Clearing Up Foul Situations

Dropping the stick helps officials and players clearly identify fouls and their consequences. It makes it easier for everyone on the field to know when a foul has occurred, who committed it, and what the outcome should be. This transparency is essential for maintaining order and fairness in the game.


In women’s lacrosse, dropping the stick is a unique and vital aspect of the game. It promotes safety, sportsmanship, fair play, and a quick restart of the game. While it may seem unusual to outsiders, it is an integral part of the sport’s culture and rules. Understanding the reasons behind this practice not only enhances your appreciation of women’s lacrosse but also highlights the sport’s commitment to safety and integrity. So, the next time you watch a women’s lacrosse game and see a player drop her stick, you’ll know that it’s all in the spirit of a fascinating and engaging sport.

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