Lacrosse is a fast paced, exciting sport with a rich and vibrant history dating back to the games enjoyed by Native American players. Over the past few decades the game’s popularity has increased enormously - and it hasn’t stopped yet!
A game has two main elements in terms of equipment: the lacrosse stick, which comprises a net and shaft, and the ball.Lacrosse balls are very specific - each of them has to undergo the series of tests, and must meet certain minimum requirements in order to be suitable for the game:
- Particular diameter;
- Specific hardness levels;
- Safety considerations.
Not only does this ensure that every game is fair and equal, but it is also an important aspect in keeping players and coaches safe during the match.
Understanding the basic requirements for the lacrosse ball is essential for coaches, referees and anyone involved in organising matches, games and training sessions at any level.
In order for you to better understand the specifications of lacrosse equipment, we have created a basic guide to the legal requirements.
How Big is a Lacrosse Ball?
Requirements state that all lacrosse balls are required to meet certain specifications in order to be accepted as Certified Lacrosse Balls. In order to qualify, the ball must be:
- White, yellow or orange color;
- The size of a lacrosse ball must measure a circumference of at least 7.75 inches, not exceeding 8 inches.
- The weight (pounds) of a lacrosse ball must be between 5 and 5.5 ounces.
What is the Certification Process for Lacrosse Balls?In order to be used in a game as an official ball, it must be approved by the SEI (Safety Equipment Institute), and brands must undergo a rigorous testing process in order to be approved, which includes:
- Testing fees;
- Product labels;
- Evidence of quality control.
SEI reviews the data provided, performs a sample sized test on each lacrosse ball diameter, model, size and colour, and ensures that everything is above board.When approved, the brand will be added to the website, and the SEI logo must be embossed on the ball.
Why Does It Matter if Balls are Certified?Consideration - what is the diameter of a lacrosse ball? - is not merely a bureaucratic requirement - making sure that balls are regulated and certified is also a safety issue.
- Standard lacrosse ball weight (kilograms) is 0.15kg, and this means that a ball travelling at 90mph can cause upward of 1000 Severity Index to the skull if it hits a lacrosse helmet - this can cause irreparable damage to both the brain and skull, as well as crush the mandible joint present in the jaw.
- As a result, the lacrosse ball size must be tightly regulated to prevent serious damage to players.
- Hardness of the ball also plays a part here - the NOCSAE states that balls must have a hardness level of 110-150CD - anything above this can cause serious damage.
- In some cases, rubber balls have also been shown to harden over time - this occurs as the additives in the formula begin to leak out.
- Over time, this makes the ball greasy, slippery and dangerous to handle, eventually degrading the rubber.
- Balls which have been tested and approved as being within specification are far less likely to have this issue, and this is another reason to make sure that your purchase has had the official seal of approval.
How Do I Know If My Ball Is Approved?
- In order to be approved, your ball must meet the official lacrosse ball diameter in inches - between 7.75 and 8, and in mm - 62.7 mm - 64.7 mm. Besides, women's NCAA lacrosse ball weight in pounds should be - 5 and 5.5 ounces.
- You can also check the SEI website to make sure that the brand you are purchasing is certified and approved.
- It is worth noting that brands may have their balls recalled if they fail to keep up with the annual auditing process required by the SEI.
- This may also occur if an audit shows that previously approved balls are now out of spec, and so it is important to continually check and update your purchases prior to matches.