After watching a Premier League Lacrosse game, a curious question popped up into my mind. I wanted to know how tall and how heavy the average professional lacrosse player is, but I couldn’t come up with anything after doing a quick search online. This set me off into doing my own little research project, and I was quite pleased with the results.
The average professional lacrosse player is 6′ 0.34″ tall and weighs 198.52 lbs. This means that the average professional lacrosse player is about 3 inches taller than the average American male (5′ 9.3″) and is approximately the same weight as the average American male (197.6 lbs).
I acquired this data after conducting a complete study of every height and weight listed on the Premier Lacrosse League 2020 team rosters. This study also further breaks down the height and weight distribution of the Premier Lacrosse League by PLL team and position. To see these numbers for yourself, keep reading further.
An In Depth Study to Uncover the Average Height & Weight of a Professional Lacrosse Player
All seven PLL teams were represented in this study, with 194 players total. Once all of the heights and weights were collected from the PLL team roster lists, I calculated the complete average total for all 194 players.
Average Height & Weight By PLL Team
My curiosity didn’t stop there. I went ahead and broke down the height and weight distribution by PLL team to see how the physical elements of each individual squad matched up against one another. The results of my findings are organized in the table below.
|PLL Team||Average Height||Average Weight|
|Archers||5′ 11.79″||194.31 lbs|
|Atlas||6′ 0.62″||206.79 lbs|
|Chaos||6′ 0.55″||196.48 lbs|
|Chrome||6′ 0.86″||196.31 lbs|
|Redwoods||6′ 0.30″||201.27 lbs|
|Waterdogs||6′ 0.62″||195.71 lbs|
|Whipsnakes||5′ 11.71″||198.36 lbs|
For the 2020 season, Chrome had the tallest team on average with an average height of 6′ 0.86″ while Atlas had the heaviest team on average with an average height of 206.79 lbs.
Average Height & Weight by Lacrosse Position
From there, I continued on to classify the average height and weight of the PLL by lacrosse position. The results of my findings are organized in the table below.
|Position||Average Height||Average Weight|
|Midfielder||6′ 0.14″||196.24 lbs|
|Attacker||5′ 11.55″||190.55 lbs|
|Defender||6′ 1.22″||202.94 lbs|
|Goalkeeper||6′ 0.76″||204.41 lbs|
|Face-Off||5′ 11.62″||208.69 lbs|
For the 2020 season, defenders were the tallest position on average with an average height of 6′ 1.22″ while face-off specialists were the heaviest position on average with an average weight of 208.69 lbs.
Do You Need to Be Big & Tall to Become a Professional Lacrosse Player?
After seeing the average height and weight of professional lacrosse players for yourself, your are likely wondering how crucial of a factor height and weight is in determining the likelihood of making it to the top level of lacrosse. Although the numbers above may tell you one story, the actual truth of the matter may surprise you.
How Height and Weight Affects Player Success at the Professional Lacrosse Level
There is no denying that having a solid body frame to work with definitely helps in terms of player performance. After all, lacrosse is a contact sport. The bigger a player is, the better able they are at delivering and receiving physical blows.
However, height and weight is not the end all be all. Lacrosse isn’t like basketball. You don’t have to reach a baseline height to find success in the pros. Lacrosse isn’t like football either. It is not necessary to pack on an exorbitant amount of muscle weight to stand up to meaty pro linemen.
Although the greater potential strength and extra reach that accompanies additional height and weight does help, there are shorter, lighter players that dominate the PLL. Their strength, speed, and agility more than makes up for what they lack in the physical department.
A prime example of this is Joey Sankey. At North Carolina, Joey Sankey was a 3x All-American and a 3x All-ACC award winner. Prior to his stint in the PLL, Sankey played in the MLL. During his debut season, Sankey was the 2015 Cascade Rookie of the Year. Just telling you about these accolades with words doesn’t really do his greatness justice, so I provided the highlights from his Rookie of the Year season below.
Whenever Sankey gets the ball, he takes it right at his opponent with no regard for what consequences his body might pay. It is this aggressive mentality that has allowed him to prosper in the sport of lacrosse.
Sankey is listed at a height of 5′ 5″ and a weight of 160 lbs. Although these physical attributes lie well below the league average, it matters little. There are alternative ways to find success in this game other than bulldozing defenders over.
Nonetheless, there are players that do base their entire game around bulldozing defenders over with brute physicality alone. A model example of a player that lies on this other end of the physical spectrum is Myles Jones.
Jones earned his right to becoming a starting midfielder at Duke, where he received honors as a 3x All-American, a 2x Lt. Donald MacLaughlin Jr. award winner (nation’s top midfielder), a 2x Tewaaraton finalist, and the 2016 ACC Offensive Player of the Year. His success at the collegiate level has translated over to the pros, having been selected to the 2019 PLL All-Star Game.
Hearing about these awards is great and all, but you probably want to witness the unmatched physical play of Myles Jones more than anything else. Have no fear, I included the highlight tape from his 2019 All-Star season below. I highly recommend you at least watch the first clip!
As you can see, Jones does not let his size advantage go to waste. Listed at a height of a 6’5″ and a weight of 260 lbs, he is well above the league average in terms of physical prowess.
Why are Defenders the Tallest Position on Average?
The height and weight distribution by lacrosse position definitely shows some noticeable trends, one of which being that defenders are the tallest position on average. How can this be?
It is up to the defensemen to put an early stop to any scoring threats that come their way, particularly against the attack. In order to keep the opposing offensive talent at bay, they need to maximize their reach and body mass.
The Longer the Reach, the Better
Defensemen utilize their reach to throw checks on ball carriers from afar. This way, they can sit back in solid defensive position while still applying pressure on the ball carrier. This is why defenseman are equipped with long sticks in the first place.
Defenders that have a shorter reach have to venture closer to the ball carrier to land their checks, which leaves them vulnerable to a potential dodge. At the highest level of lacrosse, this reach advantage is far more pronounced. As a result, professional lacrosse defenseman are taller and have a longer wing span on average to help circumvent the problem of defensive positioning.
Greater Potential to Pack on Body Mass
Taller frames are also able to effectively hold more weight. There are many offensive players at the professional level that base their entire game around demolishing their way to the goal, like Myles Jones for example. For defensemen to even stand a chance at stopping these players in their tracks, they need to possess a hefty body frame.
This is yet another reason why defenders are taller on average. With the longer frame, they can pack on a few more pounds of lean muscle to withstand the harsh physical contact that opposing ball carriers initiate.
Why are Face-Off Specialists the Heaviest Position on Average?
Another statistical trend illustrated in the research findings is that face-off specialists are the heaviest position on average. If you are familiar with what the job of a face-off specialist entails, it is not hard to imagine why this statistical trend is the way it is.
The sole job of the face-off specialist is to acquire possession of the ball by any means necessary.
Each player is trying to outmuscle the other with brute force. They collide with one another and do their very best to get the slightest edge on their rival.
Needless to say, this heavy emphasis on physicality warrants a bit of extra weight. It’s basic physics. It’s a lot harder to move a bigger object than a smaller object. The more weight that a face-off specialist is able to pack on, the more difficult it is for their opponent to push them off the ball. Plus, this extra weight has the added bonus of greater strength, which can do wonders at the face-off X.
Why are Attackers the Shortest & Lightest Position on Average?
Lastly, you may have noticed that attackmen are the shortest and lightest players relative to all other lacrosse positions at the professional level. I was a bit taken aback after this revelation, but after further analysis I realized that this statistical trend did make logical sense.
Attackers Thrive on Pure Speed
For one, one of the most essential qualities to becoming a feared attackman at the top tier level of lacrosse is speed. Without speed, it will be extremely difficult for an attackman to generate any sort of offense on or off the ball.
This is because the game of lacrosse is built upon the prospect of speed. The gigantic field size and free flowing technique of cradling help to foster this speed and promote an up tempo style of play. These aspects of the game are the main reasons why ball carriers elect to run by defenders rather than run through them.
Since the sole responsibility of the attackmen is to make plays on the offense, it makes sense that they would be the shortest and lightest. Their lightweight, compact stature lends itself to a superior affinity for speed.
Emphasis on a Quick Change of Direction
The lightweight, compact stature of attackmen also supports a quick change of direction. A fast linear speed can take you far in lacrosse, but an explosive change of direction is what separates the men from the boys.
To get past defenders, attackmen must rely on a broad repertoire of dodges to get to the cage. Virtually every viable dodge in lacrosse relies on a quick change of direction. Dodges that are performed at a snail’s pace rarely ever work in lacrosse, especially at the professional level. Defenders are simply too athletic to fall victim to slow motion dodges.
Again, this is why attackmen are polarized to the shorter, lighter end of the physical spectrum. They have less body frame to move around, so it is much easier for them to accelerate, reach their maximum velocity, and leave their defenders in the dust.
How Reliable Is This Data?
The final piece of this research study that must be discussed is the reliability of this data. Although I’d like to believe the data I gathered is bulletproof, it is not. There are still certain aspects of the study that may have ever so slightly skewed the data one way or another. The conclusions drawn from this data are about as good as it gets, but I felt like I should still address these possible sources of systematic error for your reference.
Even though lacrosse teams must put forth a roster update of their players, this does not mean that the height and weight numbers are completely accurate.
Teams at the professional level have been known to “beef up” the height and weight distribution of players to detract from opponent’s game strategies. If a rival opponent thinks that one team is bigger than they are, it could have a tremendous influence on how they go about constructing their game plan.
Many NBA teams have been known to do this with the heights and weights of their star players to help mitigate potential vulnerabilities on their team. For example, Kevin Durant is listed on the NBA roster list as 240 lbs. On this same NBA roster list, LeBron James is listed at 250 lbs. I don’t know about you guys, but I highly doubt that LeBron James only weighs 10 lbs more than Kevin Durant!
This same phenomenon is likely present in the PLL. Teams want to mitigate any potential weaknesses in their team whenever they can. For example, 5’10” is what the PLL has listed for Rob Pannell’s height. After doing a quick search on the web, Google says that his height is 5’9″.
Although this seems petty, this can have a marked effect on the research findings if the heights and weights of every player across the PLL had been exaggerated. So although every height and weight listed on the PLL roster list was taken into account, take the research findings with a grain of salt.
Concentration of Talent Split Between PLL and MLL
In addition, it is important to note that professional lacrosse is still in a bit of a transitional phase. With the recent birth of the PLL, there were actually two leagues that were vying for control over the lacrosse world during the 2020 season: the PLL and the MLL.
As a result, the top tier talent in lacrosse was divvied up between the two leagues rather than just being concentrated into one league. This could have a somewhat significant influence on the results of the study since data was strictly collected from the PLL, not the MLL.
If the top talent from both leagues were combined into one league, the height and weight distribution may have gone up or may have gone down a couple of ticks. It is hard to know for certain.
I hope this article helped satisfy your curiosity on the average height and weight of a professional lacrosse player! If you’re interested, I also conducted a thorough study on the average height and weight of a college lacrosse player. To link over to that article, click here.