Top 4 Sports That Are Most Similar to Lacrosse

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Lacrosse is a sport with a rich history dating back centuries. The sport is known for its physicality, an artful combination of skills such as passing, shooting, and ball handling as well as fast-paced action. 

While playing many sports for many years, I couldn’t help but notice a similarity between lacrosse and many other sports. That’s why I decided that I would take a deeper dive into figuring out which sports are most similar to lacrosse.

Top 4 Sports That Are Most Similar to Lacrosse

Top 4 Sports Most Similar To Lacrosse!

There are plenty of sports that are similar to one another. But, in my experience, there are only 4 sports that are most similar to lacrosse:

  • Hockey
  • Soccer
  • American Football
  • Basketball

These sports allow a lacrosse enthusiast, such as myself, to explore other sports that have similar characteristics. But, which sports would be your best choice?

Each one of these sports shares unique similarities and differences with lacrosse with each building up the sport to where it is today.

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1. Hockey

Watch a hockey match and then watch a lacrosse one and you will quickly see the many parallels between the two sports.

There is, in fact, a version of lacrosse called box lacrosse that is played on a turf hockey rink.

Here’s a quick video I found comparing the two sports side-by-side:

These sports have so many similarities that there are many players that often play both.

I have seen many lacrosse players use hockey as a cross-training sport to develop stick skills, hand-eye coordination, and endurance. 

Here’s how the two sports compare:


  • The two sports have 4 positions: Goolies, defenders, midfielders, and strikers
  • Lacrosse and hockey players wear protective gear such as pads and use sticks to advance the ball
  • There is a lot of physical contact between players in both sports
  • Players can be substituted at any given time in both sports
  • Players can go behind the goal in lacrosse and hockey


  • Ball advancement in hockey is done on the ground with sticks. In lacrosse, the ball is swirled in the stick’s net and then jetted into the air

*By the way, I recently wrote an article about What Combination Of Sports Is Lacrosse Made From. These 4 sports contributed to the creation of the lacrosse that we know today. You can check out this article here!

2. Soccer

Soccer is one of the sports that is most similar to lacrosse in my opinion. When I first started playing lacrosse, the game felt a lot like soccer.

It has the same sort of field, the same sort of goal, and the same sort of movement patterns!

Soccer Vs Lacrosse
Both soccer and lacrosse are similar sports yet so different at the same time!

Much like soccer, lacrosse involves constant movement, passing, and shooting, with players transitioning between offense and defense frequently.

Below is a quick breakdown of all of the similarities and differences between these two sports that I can think of:


  • Athletes in both sports need to have both stamina and agility
  • Both sports involve passing the ball between teammates to advance toward the opponent’s goal
  • The primary goal in both sports is to score by putting the ball in the goal of the opposing team
  • Both lacrosse and soccer are team sports that depend on player cooperation and strategy
  • Both sports have an offside rule that prohibits players from positioning themselves close to the goal of the opposing team if there are insufficient defenders on the field


  • Soccer players use their feet for ball control and passing while lacrosse players use a stick with a netted pocket to catch, carry, and pass the ball
  • Soccer is typically played on a larger field while lacrosse can be played on smaller fields
  • Soccer is a non-contact sport, with minimal allowable physical contact between players. However, lacrosse allows more physical contact which is a significant aspect of the game

*By the way, I recently wrote an article breaking down All The Similarities and Differences Between Men’s & Women’s Lacrosse. This article goes in-depth about the real difference between the two sports and explains the rules for each. You can check out this article here!

3. American Football

American football closely resembles the previous sport on this list, and while football might not have a net to score in, you still start to notice some similarities between this sport and lacrosse over time.

According to Ferris Thomsen from

“Unlike football, with its break between plays, lacrosse takes more stamina due to continuous running. Like in football, speed, general athletic skill and the ability to give and take punishment is important. Fans who know both games like lacrosse better because it’s more open.”

More stamina exertion usually means greater fatigue during the game. However, both sports require the athletic capabilities to wither the storm!

Both of these sports are considered heavy contact sports that lead to many injuries on the field!

Football Vs Lacrosse
Both football and lacrosse require a lot of movement skills, stamina, and speed!

Since these sports are contact sports, that means that they’re also going to be required the same sort of protective equipment. Which is exactly what you find in both these sports!

Below are all the similarities and differences between the two sports that I’ve found:


  • In both sports, dodges, cuts, and angles are very common
  • Players in both sports also wear heavy protective gear such as pads
  • Physicality is another parallel here. While you cannot tackle a player in lacrosse, players use similar principles as those in football to hit a player


  • Lacrosse players use a small ball played with sticks while football players use a larger hollow ball played with the hands
  • In football, players must carry the ball over a goal line to score while in lacrosse, players must get the ball into a net to score

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4. Basketball

At first glance, lacrosse and basketball may seem different in nature, but if you have ever played both, you may have noticed that they have various similarities and patterns.

First, both sports involve players trying to put a ball into a net. Also, many of the skills required to play one sport are also required in the other.

Basketball Vs Lacrosse
Both basketball and lacrosse need a ball in a net in order to score!

Basketball, like lacrosse, demands hand-eye coordination, good vision, intellect, and good footwork, allowing players to make plays on the fly. 

Unlike lacrosse, however, basketball players cannot move back past the halfway mark on the field once they’ve crossed it!

Here are the major similarities and differences between basketball and lacrosse:


  • When in offense, both sports advance the ball almost the same way. Concepts like moving, spacing, cutting, and passing are also almost common in both sports.
  • Dodging in lacrosse is also very similar to basketball’s dribble moves. Crossovers in basketball are, for instance, like split dodges in lacrosse
  • We also see pic and rolls in lacrosse and basketball
  • In defensive positions, both sports use zone defense. A player can defend against any player in a specific zone.


  • While lacrosse has 10 players in a team, basketball is played with 5 players
  • Lacrosse allows physical contact between players; basketball doesn’t
  • An indoor basketball court is way smaller than a lacrosse field
  • The pace is also different. Basketball is a back-and-forth sport, and a team is allowed just 35 seconds to shoot. This is not the case in lacrosse
  • Lacrosse players wear protective pads and use sticks. Basketball is a lightweight game and no sticks are used

*By the way, I recently wrote an article about How Many Players Total Are On A Lacrosse Team. This article breaks down exactly how many players, at different levels, each lacrosse team has. You can check out this article here!

Final Thoughts

The four sports discussed here are most similar to lacrosse. They share the most aspects similar to lacrosse. But right now, lacrosse is one of the most interesting sports gaining popularity over the years.

If you are a lacrosse enthusiast or just someone who loves sports, nothing is stopping you from trying other sports similar to lacrosse.

People also ask me…

How can lacrosse relate to other sports?

Lacrosse demonstrates similarities with several sports, including hockey, soccer, basketball, football, field hockey, and rugby. Lacrosse has adopted some characteristics from each sport making it a unique type of sport altogether.

What three sports are combined in lacrosse?

Lacrosse is a combination of the sports of hockey, soccer, and football. The three sports share many characteristics with lacrosse such as team play, physicality, and the skills required to play. Each one of these sports shares unique similarities with lacrosse which combined explain its uniqueness.

What is the most similar sport to lacrosse?

Generally speaking, lacrosse is most similar to hockey in terms of gameplay. The two sports share similar styles of play and strategic tactics. Both lacrosse and hockey involve the use of sticks to handle a small ball or puck, with players aiming to score by shooting it into the opponent’s net.

What Native American sport is like lacrosse?

Stickball is the Native American sport most similar to lacrosse. The sport is played on an open field with two teams of players attempting to control and hit the ball into the opposing team’s goal. The game was later modified by European settlers to create its current form known today as lacrosse.


Hey, my name is Denis. I am the creator of, a website dedicated for novice players of all sports to find the answers that they are looking for! I've played many different types of sports since I was 10 years old and I recently realized that there are still a lot of questions that players have when coming into a new sport. Hopefully, this website helps you get the answers that you were looking for!

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