Does Size Really Matter In Lacrosse?


In every sport, having a large physical presence can either beneficial. Height and size play a large role lacrosse both offensively and defensively.

Size does not matter in lacrosse. Speed is a more important as it allows players to get around bigger and slower players.

In this article, we’re going to look at each position and why size does not matter in terms of positional play in lacrosse.

Does Size Matter In Lacrosse?

As mentioned, height and weight play a large factor in sports. The correlation between height and weight can play advantages in the items below:

  • Body Positioning
  • Physical Dominance
  • Defending Visual Goals

In lacrosse, height and size have their place within the sport. Let’s start defensively, especially with the goalie.

Goalie Size

size matter in lacrosse
via wikipedia

Taller and larger goalies typically will have more success due to the fact they’re able to cover up more of the net.

However, lacrosse is a unique sport because of how fast the ball travels to the net off of a shot. The player in net may be large and take up most of the net, but a good majority of the goals are scored on bounces and below the knees.

Having a large upper body and being 6’5 in this case may hurt the goalie. Which brings us to our next point of hand speed. If the goalie is tall and takes up most of the net, size becomes irrelevant on shots up close, where they need to swing the stick down as fast as possible.

Hand speed and stick quickness now is the determining factor with goalies. This is why at the higher levels, size doesn’t necessarily play a factor with goalies in net, but more of the ability to stop the ball with the goalie stick.

Does Size Matter: No

Size On Defense

The next line of defense is indeed the Defense. Whether it be hockey or lacrosse, having strong defenseman to add as another layer of support for the goalie is what separates good teams from great teams.

Size does play a bit of a role with defense. The defense has one goal, do not let attackers get clean to the net with a wide open shot. The way to stop this is by blocking shooting lanes and physicality with the stick.

Drawing from this point, size and height does have some impact as taller defenders, have longer arms which are able to poke and jab at a greater distance.

Larger players (in weight) also force players to shoot wider than their intended target.

Where height and size don’t come into play is pertaining to the footwork. If the player, no matter the size, has poor speed and footwork, it doesn’t matter how big they are. Attack players are often small and quick players who can win the one on one battles.

Height and weight is great for players with above average footwork and downfield speed, however lacking one of these traits could be damaging to the height and weight.

Does Size Matter: Dependent On The Footwork

Mid-Fielder Size

Mid-Fielders, similar to those in soccer, need to be dynamic and well rounded. These players are consistently fighting for ground balls and chasing down streaking attackers.

Height and size don’t necessarily come into play with mid-fielders, as they need to have more top-end speed and fast hands then they do mass and inches.

Attack Size

The attack are often the most skilled in both hand work and ball placement. Some great attackers over the years have been Lyle Thompson, Shayne Jackson, Mark Cockerton, & Bryan Cole.

If we take a look at some of the greats and look at their height and weight, we’ll see some interesting comparisons.

We took the top 8 scorer’s in the attack position for the 2019 MLL season and looked at their height and weight to see if we could find some similarities Here’s what we found..

NameGoalsHeightWeight
Lyle Thompson466’0180
Shayne Jackson435’9175
Mark Cockerton435’10185
Bryan Cole396’3175
Ryan Lee386’2200
Colin Heacock376’3210
Bryce Wasserman366’3195
Rob Pannell335’9205

Looking at this chart of the top 8 goal scores, there’s a wide range of height and weight.

To start, we’re seeing a high majority of 6’2 and over players who are averaging a considerable amount of goals. We’re also seeing players under 5’10 are higher up on the list.

One thing that’s consistent throughout the chart is the weight. No matter the height, players are all hovering around the 200 pound mark.

The attack position is known to get hit, pushed, and jumbled around when they have the ball. It’s essential that this position has great balance and a good foundation to absorb contact – all of which these players have.

Does Height & Size Matter: No

Does Height Matter In Women’s Lacrosse?

Women’s lacrosse is essentially the same sport as men’s lacrosse from a theory perspective (Put the ball in the net), however the two games are vastly different from one another.

The rules in particular vary, the uniforms are different, even the equipment players wear are different.

One thing that’s not different is the notion that height and size matter. Because women’s lacrosse has no contact, players rely strictly on their hand speed and top speed while running.

We often see athlete’s in women’s lacrosse dominate who are able to effectively maneuver past defenders and effectively maintain position of the ball as they way their way to the net.

Whereas height and size may not matter in men’s, it does not play a role in women’s lacrosse either, strictly because of the no contact rule.

Conclusion

Height and size in lacrosse do not necessarily matter from an overall standpoint, however it does come into play by position. As shown above attack needs to have speed and be able to win 1 vs 1 match-ups, goalies need to be handy with the stick, and mid-fielders need to have speed and a great stick.

Defense however, can benefit from height and size and they can disrupt throwing lanes and shut down penetration from the quicker attack players.

If you’re starting out lacrosse and are concerned about your height and weight, don’t worry.

Focus on your hands, footwork and stick skills. As shown above, smaller players who have great hand work can be fantastic attack-man and press the defense for points.

If you’re undersized, work on things that you can control (hands, feet) and don’t worry about height. If you’re taller or more heavy set, focus on the footwork.

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