Practically every sport has some kind of variation that is not only fun to try but can also be incredibly beneficial for a player’s development. Soccer has futsal, ice hockey has roller hockey, and lacrosse has box lacrosse. You might have seen box lacrosse and all its physicality before with the National Lacrosse League (NLL), and it could’ve piqued your interest.
Box lacrosse is an excellent way to keep your momentum going into the winter, right before the traditional spring season begins. It gives you the smaller area on the field to refine your stick skills, the up and down nature to keep you or get you in shape and well-prepared for fastbreaks, and so much more. If you want to play box this winter, start off by diving into the key differences between box and field lacrosse before you sign up!
The first major distinction between field and box lacrosse is what you play the game on and at. For traditional field lacrosse, you usually play the game outdoors on a 110 by 60 yard natural or artificial grass field.
Box lacrosse has some notable differences with its dimensions. First, you usually play it indoors on a playing surface surrounded by boards and glass like a hockey rink. The length of the rink can range from 180-200 feet by 80-90 feet, with either field turf or concrete as the playing surface. Because you play the game with less space, a major aspect on the offensive side of the ball is pick and rolls to get hands free, which is where a lot of contact comes into play.
Along with the smaller field, box lacrosse also features a much smaller goal that is 4 by 4.9 feet; it’s still within a crease a player cannot step into. While a box lacrosse net might be smaller, goalies will actually take up more space since they will wear more gear akin to a hockey goalie, with the addition of knee pads and protective pants.
The general rules of box and field lacrosse are the same, but there are a few specific rules and parts of the game that players will want to know before making the transition:
Box lacrosse can be more physical than the outdoor game, and a major reason why is because there tends to be more contact with off-ball movement, which involves crosschecking. This differs from field lacrosse, where players generally use crosschecking on defense.
In field lacrosse, the only players who can go on both sides of the field are defenders unless someone stays back. However, a key difference between box and field lacrosse is that there are no offsides. Therefore, players must learn how to play both offensive and defense, which is another way box lacrosse helps improve development.
Because of the smaller field, there aren’t as many players out there in box lacrosse. Positions are also different, given that players can play two ways.
The goalie will remain in-net, and the other five players out on the floor are “runners” since they can move all over the floor. They will have specific roles such as forward, transition, and defense.
A lot of equipment used in both field and box is also very similar. However, with box lacrosse comes a few minor differences in regards to what you can use, some additional gear you might want to consider for protection, and more.
With field lacrosse in the men’s game, defensemen and some midfielders will notably use long poles. In box lacrosse, there are no long poles, and every player will use a thicker and more durable short stick instead to withstand crosschecks.
What’s great about this for defensive-minded players is that they can strengthen their on-ball approach with their footwork and bodies as opposed to relying on their long sticks, which can result in penalties. Goaltenders still get to use the position’s traditional stick with the larger lacrosse head.
As you can already tell, box lacrosse has a lot of similarities to ice hockey with the boards, goalies playing with pads, and all the boorishness. Another similarity you can add relates to helmets.
Instead of wearing a helmet like the Cascade XRS, box lacrosse players will wear one specific to the indoor game that is very similar to or is a hockey helmet. The only difference between a box lacrosse helmet and one used for ice hockey is the facemask, which is longer for lacrosse.
Yet another similarity between box lacrosse and hockey is what the players will wear on their backs during games. Unlike field lacrosse, where players will either don short sleeve jerseys or pinnies, players in box traditionally wear long-sleeved tops, very similar to ice hockey, but with a pair of shorts instead of padded pants for “runners.”
Because box lacrosse takes place on either field turf or concrete, you won’t want to wear cleats. A better option is to either wear turf dogs with little spikes at the bottom made for artificial playing surfaces or sport basketball shoes if you are playing on concrete surfaces and because the flow of the game is very similar.
In addition to what goalies wear, the helmet, jerseys, and not being able to use a long stick, there is other protection out there that box players will want to add to their arsenals since the game is more physical. Specifically, you might want to browse our box lacrosse collection for arm guards, bicep pads, rib protection, and more!
Get Your Box Gear at Lacrosse Fanatic!
Box lacrosse is something every young lacrosse player should consider playing. The adjustment is not only natural, but it can do wonders for your development as a player—not to mention the fact that you don’t need to get a ton of new gear to play unless you are a goalie.
Looking to play box lacrosse this winter? Whether you play men’s, women’s, or box, you can find all that lacrosse equipment online at Lacrosse Fanatic!