Discovering Lacrosse on London School Sports Tours

As the largest city in the United Kingdom (and one of the largest in the world) London has a huge variety of history, culture, education, entertainment, economy, and sport. As such, it is the perfect destination for educational sporting trips. The sport of lacrosse has an extensive amateur team network throughout the city and, while visiting London on school sports tours, students will be able to play local teams and learn about the history of the game and how it has prospered in the UK. In addition to this, you will gain a better understanding of how men and women’s lacrosse differ in various ways.

History of Lacrosse – Lacrosse began as a team sport played by the Native Americans in America and Canada, and is thought to have developed as early as 1,100 A.D. During the early years, Native Canadians would play with 100 to 1,000 players on a field that could stretch from 500 metres to three kilometres and last all day. Luckily for those on modern school sports tours, over the years the field of play has reduced to just 110 long and 60 yards wide and is contested with 10 players on each team. It is primarily played outdoors with three attackers, three defenders, three midfielders and a goalie who use sticks with netted heads to catch, run, and score.

School sports tours to London focusing on lacrosse will bring to life much of the history of the game for students. Lacrosse crossed the ocean in 1876 with a group of Canadian players doing exhibition matches. Later, in 1883, there were around 60 local clubs playing regular fixtures around the country. Just a few years later, in 1892, the English Lacrosse Union (ELU) was formed as the governing body of the sport, and in 1996 Sport England combined the ELU and the All England’s Women’s Lacrosse Association to form the current governing body – the English Lacrosse Association.

Men vs Women – As girls and boys participating in school sports tours to play lacrosse in London will learn, one of the major differences between the sport for men and women comes down to physical contact. On the men’s teams, physical contact in the form of body checking is legal and encouraged – whereas, the women’s game prohibits such movements. Consequently, there is a lot less padding and protective gear in women’s lacrosse. Secondly, in the women’s game there are 12 players on the field per side, whereas the men’s game only has 10. But with the extra players comes an extra bit of size to the pitch, which measures 120 yards long and 70 yards wide. Finally, the women’s sticks must be webbed in the traditional manner and no synthetic materials for the net may be used, but whether this is a pro or con is still being debated.

Nicole Thomas

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