The Science Behind Lacrosse

By: Caroline Covey

What is Lacrosse?

Lacrosse is a very fast-moving sport that requires skill, swiftness and very good hand-eye coordination. A stick is used to move the ball around. There are 12 girls (including a goalie) on the field per team (10 for boys). The length of the field is about the same as a football field and the object is to get the ball and score. To start, girls have to take the draw and boys must take the face-off. You take these after every goal. The key is to get possession and to "take care of the ball".

Finding Lacrosse

When I was first introduced to the sport, my older sister was playing it. Of course, since I look up to my sister so much, I wanted to play too. In second grade, I picked up a stick and tried it out. I loved it! As soon as I got on the team, however, I realized that this sport was A LOT harder then some other sports that I have done. I'm not one to give up easily though, so I stuck with it and forced myself, rain or shine, to practice all the time. As I got older, I started to get better, so naturally, I just kept playing. I started to watch college games, and I started to ask my coaches to help me out more. Now that I want to play in college, I'm working twice as hard to accomplish all my goals. The reason that I really got interested in it, though, is because it pushes me to work harder, it makes me way more confident and overall makes me a happier person.

How is lacrosse gear made and how does technology play a role?

Different brands use different ways to make lacrosse gear. Easton-Bell Sports Co. is one of the many brands that make these stylish but safe gear for all players. As you may know, having a concussion is not uncommon for someone who plays lacrosse. It's a pretty violent sport and has lots of contact. Therefore, we need helmets. John Jiloty went behind the scenes with the makers of these helmets. He quotes, "It’s pretty cool to see how helmets go from drawings to foam “eggs” to heavy clay models to eventual plastic mock-ups. They have one machine that cuts out the clay models from CAD designs, and another that creates 3-D foam models of anything from wrenches to chains to goggles.” This technology has helped us shape the helmets and figure out how we can get them to be stylish, yet light and safe. We need them to withstand the pressure that is being put on them, and still protect the humans head.

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What does Newton's Laws of Motion have to do with Lacrosse?

Newton's first law states that an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion until acted on by an outside force. In lacrosse, during the draw or face-off, the ball stays still until one or both of the sticks collide with it. His second law states that force equals mass multiplied by acceleration. For example then, the force of ball in the air equals the mass of the ball times the acceleration of the ball. For his third law, it states that for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. When two players collide, both will fall because there will be an opposite and equal reaction between the two people.
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Hidden Levers

When you are passing a ball, your stick and arm acts like a lever. Your top hand pushes a force on the shaft to move the stick forward. Then, your bottom hand pulls down, or forces back on the stick to follow through. Your top hand becomes the fulcrum, and this creates the "lever" between your arm and shaft. Shooting is somewhat the same, just with more power. When you are shooting, you normally twist your hips, torso and shoulders to get more power and a better shot. You're just torquing your body.
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Boys Lacrosse

Citations

Behind the scenes at Easton-Bell's Helmet Technology Center. (2012). Retrieved September 1, 2015, from http://www.insidelacrosse.com/article/behind-the-scenes-at-easton-bell-s-helmet-technology-center/1829

MLL Fastest Shot Competition. Retrieved September 2, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2orscq9mkw

The Physics Behind Throwing a Lacrosse Ball. (2011, August). Retrieved September 1, 2015, from http://www.livestrong.com/article/487887-the-physics-behind-throwing-a-lacrosse-ball/

Physics of Lacrosse. Retrieved September 1, 2015, from https://prezi.com/tyyecv-pwc-s/physics-of-lacrosse/

lacrosse - Google Search. Retrieved September 2, 2015, from https://www.google.com/search?q=lacrosse&safe=strict&espv=2&biw=1366&bih=667&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=x&ved=0cayq_auoawovchmiyow8h9zyxw