Why Do Women’s Lacrosse Players Drop Their Sticks?


Why Do Women’s Lacrosse Players Drop Their Sticks? Players occasionally drop their sticks during gameplay. This action is known as a “self-start” or a “stick drop” and serves a specific purpose within the rules of the game.

The primary reason for dropping the stick in women’s lacrosse is to enable a quick restart of play after a minor infraction or a ball out of bounds.

When a violation or an out-of-bounds situation occurs, instead of waiting for a formal whistle and a player from the opposing team to restart play, the player who is closest to the ball can drop her stick to the ground.

By doing so, she signals her intention to restart the game immediately, allowing herself or her teammates to pick up the ball and continue playing without waiting for the official restart.

Here’s an example to illustrate the process:

Let’s say Team A is attacking, and a shot by one of their players goes out of bounds. Instead of waiting for a whistle and a player from Team B to take the restart, a player from Team A quickly drops her stick on the ground.

This signals to both teams and the officials that she wants to initiate a self-start. As soon as the stick touches the ground, the player, or any other player who is nearby and unaffected by the violation, can pick up the ball and continue play.

For instance, if a player from Team A’s midfield is closest to the ball, she can grab it and immediately start running toward the goal without waiting for the opposing team’s defense to get set.

This provides an advantage to the team initiating the self-start, as it allows them to catch their opponents off guard and potentially create scoring opportunities.

It’s important to note that self-starts are only permitted for certain violations or out-of-bounds situations, and players must follow specific rules and guidelines to ensure a fair and legal restart of play.

Is it common?

Yes, dropping the stick for a self-start is a common occurrence in women’s lacrosse. It is a fundamental part of the game and is widely utilized by players to maintain a fast pace and keep the game flowing smoothly.

Self-starts allow for quicker restarts after minor infractions or out-of-bounds situations, minimizing interruptions and maximizing the momentum of the game. Players are trained to be aware of when a self-start is possible and take advantage of it whenever applicable to gain an advantage over the opposing team.

So, while not every play will involve a self-start, it is a regular and well-established practice in women’s lacrosse.

Do men also do that?

No, men’s lacrosse does not have the same self-start rule where players drop their sticks to initiate a quick restart.

In men’s lacrosse, when a violation or an out-of-bounds situation occurs, play is typically restarted with a formal whistle by an official. The player who committed the violation or the player closest to the ball when it went out of bounds does not have the ability to self-start the game.

In men’s lacrosse, the game often involves more physical contact and a different set of rules compared to women’s lacrosse. Men’s lacrosse relies more on formal restarts to ensure fairness and control over the game.

The absence of self-starts in men’s lacrosse allows for more structured play and strategic positioning during restarts, as teams have the opportunity to set up their offensive and defensive formations.

So, while dropping the stick for a self-start is a unique aspect of women’s lacrosse, it is not a common practice in men’s lacrosse.


Overall, the purpose of dropping the stick in women’s lacrosse is to facilitate a faster and more fluid game, promoting continuous action and reducing delays that would otherwise occur if players had to wait for formal restarts after minor infractions or balls out of bounds.

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