In places where the weather can get cruel and brutal during springtime, it could often cause a question mark whether a lacrosse game will be canceled or not. If we take a step back and look across other sports, such as soccer and football, playing under bad weather conditions is part of the challenge. So can you play lacrosse in the rain?
The answer is yes. Lacrosse can be and often is played in the rain as long as there is no imminent threat or presence of lighting. In the meantime, officials will continue to assess the field conditions to ensure players’ safety for a potential call-off. That said, it happens very rarely.
Because playing in the rain definitely adds a dimension of complexity, continue reading to learn how you could maintain a great performance and protect yourself from injuries. Additionally, we will go over how you should take care of equipment after a poor weather game.
What to expect before a rainy game day
Not every game will be played under perfect sunny weather with a soft breeze. Rainy cold weather is rather more common, especially in the New England region. If the forecast says it has a >60% chance of rain, you should prepare yourself for a rainy game.
In the event of rain, the school and tournament officials will work together to examine the field conditions and determine if it will be safe to proceed without destroying the surface/grass for further use. So be sure to look out for any announcement 2 or 3 hours before the game starts and plan accordingly.
If it’s a regular practice day, it will most likely move to an indoor location and players practice wall balls, other skills development and conditioning. If you are new to the team, be sure to ask your coach for specific rain police & procedures.
Facts about playing lacrosse in the rain
Playing in the rain isn’t necessarily more dangerous
Beginner players might imagine playing in the rain poses more risk of getting injured. The truth is that rain has an insignificant impact on the likelihood of injury. Based on my past collegiate experience and research online, there’s no strong correlation between additional injuries and rainy weather conditions.
Lacrosse Equipment withstands most weather conditions
If you are worried the rain will have a negative effect on your gear, it’s safe to abandon the thought from now on. Whether it’s your protective gear or your stick, they are made to withstand rain or any weather conditions. The padding materials inside your protective gear will only absorb minimum moisture without getting soaking wet. Your lacrosse helmet doesn’t absorb any moisture and will stay compact throughout the game.
What about your stick? Today most lacrosse sticks are waterproof as the head is made of advanced plastic and the shaft is made of metal or carbon fiber. So the rain doesn’t have any impact on a lacrosse stick.
However, depending on whether you string the pocket with ECD water resistant mesh, your pocket will get some moisture that could impact your passing and shooting. Hence, if anything, the biggest challenge of playing in the rain is shooting accuracy. The pocket will bear more water weight from the rain and the ball will get excess moisture.
Because of this, a rainy game tends to have lesser goals as scoring is more difficult.
Tips on dealing with rain and bad weather
In this section, let’s review some tips you could do to help you perform at the best level possible even in the rain. First, to give you a real example of how lacrosse is played in rain, watch this clip of a game in action:
Keep your gear dry and fresh for the weather
As a part of the preparation before a rainy game, first make sure all your gear is dry and fresh. Then put everything in your lacrosse bag to keep it away from the rain. During warm-ups, only wear the basic protective gear needed since we want to start the game as dry as possible. Consider also bringing a backup stick so that you could use it during warm-ups and have a dry and clean stick for the game.
It’s very important to clean your gear the night before playing in the rain for two reasons. Moisture will inevitably soak the padding which creates a strong smell if not properly taken care of. To avoid making it worse, you want to play with fresh and clean gear. Moisture can weaken the pocket and tape on the shaft. To ensure the gear could last longer, definitely wipe it down before touching rain again.
Lastly, stringing water-resistant mesh is very beneficial as it maintains the pocket shape and beads off raindrops better than other types of mesh.
Try to shoot closer-distance goals
As we mentioned above, in rainy conditions, shooting becomes more challenging. Due to the excess moisture, the additional slickness on the ball makes the release faster and higher than in a dry condition.
To balance that, you want to aim lower than you normally do in order to hit the target. And try to get open near the goal to maximize the chance of scoring. Far distance shots will present a lot of uncertainty that can be easily intercepted by the goalie or sailed off the target.
Since it takes time to get used to a different condition, spend some time during warm-ups to practice. Sometimes the condition might be different, so it’s very important to test out how the rain changes your pocket.
If necessary, you might even need to adjust the pocket so that it performs the way you are most familiar with. Then also remember to readjust when you play in a dry condition in the next game.
How to take care of your lacrosse equipment after the game
Great players know their job isn’t done until they took proper care of the equipment after a rain game. As a very beneficial action to prolong the use of the equipment, it’s a practice you shouldn’t overlook.
After the game, you want to use a dry cloth or some paper towel to soak up the excess water clinging to the pocket. Be patient and don’t use a hair blower to speed up the process as the heat will shrink the mesh. Additionally, the reason why we want to get rid of the moisture as soon as possible is the moisture can stiffen up and deform the shape of the mesh, rendering it likely unusable for the next game.
Take out all your gear from the bag and place them in the open to air out the moisture. Use a cloth to wipe down and use warm water and soap to get rid of any dirt covered on the surface. Likely the equipment will form a strong odor the next day, so remember to apply some odor removing and cleaning spray as well.
Rain doesn’t normally interfere with the proceeding of a game, but without proper preparation you will feel the impact it has on your pocket and performance. Therefore, take note of what we discuss in the post and apply them to the rain games this season.