1900 St Leornars women's lacrosse Scotland
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Throwback Thursday: 1894 Lacrosse Hints for Beginners

Editor’s Note: While in Denver for the 2014 World Lacrosse Championships this past summer I had the fantastic opportunity to have a conversation with a Scottish lacrosse pioneer, Jane Claydon. Jane is also the author of St. Leornards Cradle of Lacrosse, which includes the written history of the game of lacrosse in Scotland, as introduced to them by Six Nations members. In 1982, Jane was the organizer of the very first World Lacrosse Tournament which was sponsored by W.H.Brine and was held at Trent Bridge in Nottingham, England. It was at this event that plastic sticks were used by players for the first time.

The following lessons will all be taken from St. Leonards Cradle of Lacrosse, today with Part 2. Make sure to read Part 1 if you missed it!

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Transcript from the St Leonards School Gazette Vol. III No 3 October 1894 Price 6d

Hints of La Crosse for Beginners

1894 womens lacrosse Scotland
Photograph of St Leonards girls taking a “draw” in about 1909, with the North Sea in the background. The “draw” took place on the ground until the rule changed in 1927.

La crosse, a very pretty game when well played, is, a the the same time, on fraught with difficulties for the novice. A beginner with little knowledge of how to pick up, throw or catch should never join in a game until she has become at home with the three great essentials in the game.

I PICKING UP – The simplest way is that generally used when playing tennis, namely covering the ball with the racket and drawing it smartly towards one. This is not so quick as the other way, viz, the the crosse is held by the butt in one hand and tipped under the ball, which with a short jerk, lands the ball in the netting. The former can only be employed when the ball lies dead, and the latter method is more generally used. The beginner should practice picking the ball up at a moderate rate, and then at a good speed till she can do it with and comparative certainty. She may then turn her attention to

II THROWING – The two forms, underhand and overhand, both require attentions, and one should be content till both are quite with her power. FOr the underhand throw, the crosse should not be drawn across the body, but should be swung round in a circle towards the object aimed at. The ball, resting in the angle, should be propelled down the wood and should leave the crosse at the bend and no other part. The shoulders, elbows, arms and wrists should be loose throughout the throw, the crosse held tightly in the finger, and only at the end of the throw should the whole hand close round the crosse. the beginner will soon find that it is the manner of using the force alone which gives the ball the correct impetus. For over hand throw, the crosse must be swung up over the should and then brought down by the butt hand, which passes transversely across the body; the collar hand in this throw acts as a pivot on which the crosse must rest. The bend of the crosse should never be lower than the handle, as, in such a case, the ball will strike the ground immediately in front of her. Which ever throw is used the back of the crosse must always be used to give the the ball impetus, and the throw must not be made off the gut. to aim at a mark on the wall is of great use to the beginner, as she ma thus learn to throw with accuracy.

III CATCHING – this depends on a great deal of “knack.” The broad face of the crosse should always be presented to the approaching ball, so that the surface of the netting makes a right angle with the flight of the ball. Another important fact her is that the crosse must always “give” to the ball at the moment of its touching the netting, otherwise the ball will run off at the angle or rebound off the netting. For high ball the tip is raise, for low balls it is lowered and the raised smartly as soon as the ball touches is. Side balls are met by the full face of the netting, and a smart upward turn of the butt handle will prevent the ball running off.

“Passing may be practiced by two girls running parallel with one another at a distance of 15 yards to begin with. The thrower will “pass” the ball a lttle in front of the catcher, so that no time is lost in waiting for the ball.

In a game the defences must remember that it is not always desirable too pass to centre. A well directed pass to side attack will often be useful, as it not only enlarges the are of play but also prevents the side field from pressing into the centre of the field. Overhand throwing should be more used than at present, and longer throws, especially from goals would be the result.