When is the lacrosse season? That’s one of the most common questions people ask me when I talk about lacrosse. With so many different levels of lacrosse, it can be confusing to know when the actual season starts and ends. Today I want to clarify all of the confusion so you can know exactly when the lacrosse season is.
So, when is lacrosse season? For most non-pro lacrosse players, lacrosse season is during the spring. For pro lacrosse players, lacrosse season is during the summer.
Let’s look at the lacrosse season for each level of lacrosse:
NCAA – Division 1, 2 and 3 Lacrosse Season
For NCAA lacrosse players, the first lacrosse game usually happens on February 1st and ends on Memorial Day Weekend where the NCAA Lacrosse Championships happen. Thus, NCAA lacrosse is a spring sport. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the season:
- Regular Season Games: Feb 1st – End of April
- Conference Championships: Early May
- Playoffs: Early May – Memorial Day Weekend
After teams play a number of regular season games, they play in a conference tournament. For example, Duke and Virginia lacrosse are in the ACC, so they compete in the ACC lacrosse tournament. Winners of the conference tournament have an automatic spot in the playoffs.
Even though lacrosse games are played in the spring, there is a large amount of practice and preparation done in the fall. You’ll hear people call it “fall ball.” Pretty much the moment lacrosse players step foot on campus, they are training for lacrosse. This could be in the form of captains-only practices, lifting sessions or individual shooting sessions. Most college lacrosse teams will also scrimmage other teams in order to prepare for the real season.
There has certainly been backlash from lacrosse coaches and players with such an early start to the lacrosse season. With many lacrosse schools in the Northeastern US, February games are often played in the snow and ice. This is certainly not ideal weather to play lacrosse.
And don’t forget about the summer. Even though lacrosse players aren’t in school, they are almost certainly following some sort of training program given to them by their lacrosse coaches. Many of the fitness tests happen when players get back in the fall, so players must stay in shape in the summer and train.
Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) Lacrosse Season
The Premier Lacrosse League is the sport’s most popular league. It starts at the tail end of the NCAA lacrosse season and ends during September. Thus, PLL lacrosse is a summer sport. Here’s a breakdown of the season in more detail:
- Regular Season: End of May – End of August
- Playoffs: All of September
With the small number of teams in the PLL (7 teams as of now), it wouldn’t make sense to split the teams into conferences, so there isn’t a conference championship.
In addition to the normal lacrosse season, each PLL team hosts a training camp 2 weeks prior to the start of the season. This gives the teams an ample amount of time to develop chemistry and strategy before they start the season
Major League Lacrosse (MLL) Lacrosse Season
The MLL is lacrosse’s other outdoor league. The season starts at the end of May and ends in Mid-August, thus making MLL lacrosse a summer sport.
- Regular Season: End of May – Mid August
- Playoffs: August – September or October
High School Lacrosse Season
With each state having its own set of lacrosse rules, it’s difficult to give one answer for the high school lacrosse season. For most East Coast states, lacrosse season starts late February/Early March and ends by the time school is out. This varies state by state though.
For example, I live in Texas and our lacrosse season started in early February and ended late May. For my friends in other states, the season didn’t start until mid-March and ended in Early June.
Club (Select) Lacrosse Season
More serious lacrosse players tend to play for a select or club team in addition to their high school team. These club teams give players the chance to get recruited by college lacrosse coaches and sharpen their skills outside of school lacrosse.
Most club lacrosse teams play in the summer and fall. During the summer, lacrosse players travel from all across the country to different lacrosse tournaments. I’d say a majority of the “elite” tournaments take place in East Coast states such as Maryland or New York.
When I played club lacrosse, I spent my summers traveling all over the country to Colorado, Virginia, North Carolina, Massachusetts, etc.
During the fall, club teams play in local tournaments since school is in session. Fall lacrosse is more important than ever with early recruiting.