There’s an interesting phenomenon happening with the rate of participation in sports. Where traditional team sport participation is declining, the rise of the popularity of lacrosse has been meteoric.
The popularity of lacrosse is growing across all demographics. Lacrosse is popular with men. Lacrosse is popular with women. Lacrosse is popular at the youth level.
Women’s Lacrosse at College
Lacrosse is the fastest-growing college sport in the USA. NCAA women’s teams grew from 238 in 2001 to 483 in 2018. That’s nearly a 203% increase in that time. Amateur participation is growing. Professional competition is growing. More men and women are playing in amateur competitions
Youth participation is also up. Recent reports show that there has been an increase in participation by girls. 43.1% more girls are playing than previously and the NCAA has seen a 65% increase in the number of new lacrosse programs for women athletes. Given that, for much of the history of lacrosse, it was considered an “elite” sport played at exclusive private colleges, this recent skyrocketing growth is impressive.
Women’s Lacrosse World Championship
Every 4 years, elite women lacrosse players from across the world play in the World Lacrosse Women’s World Championship. The next World Championship is due to be held in 2021. Of the 10 tournaments held since 1982, The USA Women’s Team has won 8 times. The Australian team has won gold twice. 25 teams from across the globe competed at the most recent World Lacrosse Women’s World Championship
3 Reasons lacrosse may be popular
There are a number of wider health and community benefits that women and children get from participation in sport. These benefits may help show why lacrosse is increasingly popular and also show why increased participation should be encouraged.
#1 Girls playing lacrosse have better health outcomes
There are a number of benefits that girls find from playing sports like lacrosse:
- Girls that play lacrosse and other sports are less likely to experience an unintended pregnancy.
- Girls that play lacrosse and other sports are likely to perform better at school.
- Girls that play lacrosse and other sports and exercise regularly are less likely to experience cancer.
- Girls that play lacrosse and other sports are less likely to experience osteoporosis later in life.
- Girls and women that play lacrosse and other sports are more confident. They have higher self-esteem and are less likely to suffer depression.
- Girls and women that participate in lacrosse and other sports have higher levels of positive body image. They generally have more positive mental health.
These health benefits from playing lacrosse lead to increased quality of life and can have wider positive aspects in the local communities around where teams are situated.
#2 Girls playing lacrosse learn teamwork and goal setting
The increased participation of girls in lacrosse and other sports allows girls and women access to a number of wider skills generally enjoyed by boys who have historically played more sport and engaged in achievement-oriented activities.
Girls who play lacrosse have learned about teamwork and goal-setting. They learn that they can’t win a game on their own and have to work as a team to achieve results.
These skills are transferable. What girls and women learn playing lacrosse can help boost confidence and achievement in the workplace.
#3 Girls playing lacrosse seek excellence and regular self-improvement
In an effort to gain an edge over their competitors, through appropriate exercise and training, women are looking to improve their skills regularly. They are training harder, using specialized equipment (like lacrosse rebounders), and pushing themself to their limits to improve their skills and get their edge.
This process of continuous self-improvement is one that carries over into other areas of their life and those who seek improvement in sport often work to improve all areas of their life. They understand the importance of goal setting and focussed work to achieve these goals.
From young girls through to adulthood, the rising trend of participation in women’s lacrosse is likely to continue unabated. As well as just being fun, and as well as an increase in the opportunity to compete at the elite level, there are a number of benefits that women get from playing lacrosse.
Increased lacrosse participation has health benefits for women and by participating in sport valuable skills are learned that are transferable to other areas of their lives. When you see the wider benefits achieved through sport participation the increased participation becomes easier to understand.