Before you freak out, just listen to the premise and think: should lacrosse switch to tennis balls? This change from regular lacrosse balls to tennis balls could solve some problems or ruin the game forever. We’re here to discuss this option of moving from hard rubber balls to…less hard also rubber balls for several possible reasons. Lacrosse is looking for innovation around every corner, and you never know where there might be a great decision to improve the sport we all love.
Why Should Lacrosse (Maybe) Switch to Tennis Balls
So, first off, they’d just be called lacrosse balls at that point; but the idea would basically be to use a ball that’s similar to tennis balls in lacrosse. Now, why would lacrosse even change from what it’s doing now? After all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Because we always want lacrosse to get better and better; that’s why. So, let’s see if this was really is a good idea or a waste of a blog post.
Player Safety is Numero Uno
Lacrosse doesn’t have any injury problem, but big hits were phased out with stricter penalties and calling in the past few years for player safety in men’s lacrosse. This was to prevent concussions and sternum injuries that were taking players off the field. Women’s lacrosse has even started to use helmets in some areas to prevent the concussions seen in the game. Tennis balls could reduce concussions at this point in both the men’s and women’s versions, eliminating the biggest threat to players. Concussions take out players at all levels, but it’s actually worse for younger lacrosse players who get hit with the ball.
The less-developed stick skills and less-developed brains of young lacrosse players make them more susceptible to conditions during their competition. A softer ball would potentially reduce how many of those hits to the head actually cause concussions and make youth lacrosse safer. Then, there could still be regular lacrosse balls at the adult, college, or even high school levels. No one wants to ruin lacrosse, but we also want to make it safer; right?
Goalies Have the Hardest Job in the Game, and We Want to Think of Them
Goalies aren’t the ones who complain about getting hit with lacrosse balls because they’re used to it, it’s everyone else who really hates it. And goalies would probably appreciate several fewer bruises to deal with every week too. But if goalies are already doing fine with regular lacrosse balls, then why change anything?
Well, we want our goalies to stay safe, and concussions are a huge problem for lacrosse goalies. Besides just concussions, getting hit in the throat and chest can cause serious injury or be fatal when lacrosse equipment fails. That’s a lot of hypothetical there, but every lacrosse player knows someone with a horror story of being hit when equipment malfunctions or someone isn’t wearing something they’re supposed to be wearing like a cup, helmet, or chest protector. A softer ball in lacrosse would reduce the overall impact delivered to goalies, or other players hit with random shots, and make the game safer when high-speed shots are flying around.
With a safer game in place and less risk of actual injury from shots, more lacrosse players may consider playing goalie too. Lots of lacrosse players totally respect lacrosse goalies but would never consider stepping in the net themselves. A change to the ball could change some perspectives and lead to more and more lacrosse players considering playing goalie; which is always the biggest problem at pick up games. So in theory, a softer lacrosse ball could lead to more players being ok with getting hit with it. And that means that defenders would be much more willing to jump in front of shooters than they are now.
Offenses Would Speed Up in Lacrosse
Hard lacrosse balls come with an understanding that you don’t want to really fire the ball at players on your own team. After all, if you hit your teammate with a pass it looks bad for them and can get them upset with you. So lacrosse players practically never zip the ball around as fast as they really can when they are younger, and this stays consistent as they get older. Players are also hesitant to really fire shots off when another player is in their way because they obviously want to score, but also because they don’t want to hurt anyone for no reason.
Tennis balls travel just as fast as lacrosse balls but aren’t hard enough to do any damage. Using tennis balls would let offenses really fire the ball wherever and whenever they want to and create a lot of great plays. Tennis balls can also curve in flight a lot easier, which would make for some awesome highlights.
The PLL uses neon yellow lacrosse balls to make it easier for fans and viewers to see the ball, and it probably helps out the players too. Now, this could be an easy change from white and yellow lacrosse balls to neon yellow lacrosse balls, but tennis balls are fuzzy too. That doesn’t help it’s just a fact worth noting. Back to the article.
Essentially, switching to a brighter lacrosse ball, maybe a tennis ball, would make it easier to find those balls once you shoot and miss too. Everyone has a hard time ball-hunting, and it’d be a lot easier if the balls didn’t sink in the tall grass or were really bright. Just think about it.
Oh Yeah, You Wouldn’t’ve Broken That One Thing You Totally Broke With A Lacrosse Ball
Everyone has broken something with a lacrosse ball that caused some problems pretty soon after the incident. It could’ve been denting your Dad’s car, breaking a window to your neighbor’s house, a scoreboard behind the field, or really whatever it was that you broke. And a tennis ball probably wouldn’t’ve broken that thing. Lots of lacrosse teams aren’t allowed to practice indoors because lacrosse balls are so dangerous to things that cost money and can break, but using tennis balls might let more teams get indoor practice time. You get it; softer balls mean less broken stuff.
Reasons Why Switching from Lacrosse Balls to Tennis Balls Might Not Actually Work
There are a lot of reasons why this is actually a horrible idea. For one, tennis balls probably wouldn’t hold up too well and would get torn up like kindling in a woodchipper. Lacrosse balls have a hard enough time lasting in the sport, so how could tennis balls do any better?
Besides that, tennis balls are much harder to catch and handle. Lacrosse could suffer in the stick skills department if players aren’t able to step up their game and not lose the ball all the time. This would really bring down everyone’s morale and make lacrosse a lot less fun.
Finally, lacrosse is amazing right now and on the rise. Such a huge change could take lacrosse out of the running for becoming a powerful force in the sports world. If there was going to be a change to lacrosse this drastic, it would have to happen after lacrosse gains some more support and prominence. Then there would be a bigger pool of players to use for making such a huge decision. So let’s just leave lacrosse how it is for now and not worry about this anymore.