If you’ve never heard of Box Lacrosse then you’re falling behind everyone else. Not really, but you need to learn more about it because it is a great game that can take you to the next level as a player.
Box lacrosse is more popular is the Northern States like New York; but even is states like Ohio, California, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky there are communities of Box players that have tournaments and leagues you can play in. These groups are very knowledgeable and normally really nice guys willing to help out new players so go check them out.
The game is more of a hybrid between Hockey and Field Lacrosse rather than a downsized version of Field Lacrosse so if you have played on the ice you’ll be a little ahead of the curve. Competition is always fierce in Box and you’ll need good hands to survive and handle the ball. Here I will give you the tools to become a better player by watching Box, playing Box, and perfecting Box strategy for Field Lacrosse.
Box Lacrosse Overview
Watch some Box Lacrosse in your free time. If you head to and sign up with an email you can watch live games and clips with more exclusive content. You can also watch some replays and get a firsthand look at the gameplay of 5 v 5 within the glass. The first thing you’ll notice is that there are no long poles and that the goal is smaller with a bigger goalie.
Scoring in Box is done by all players and it a much harder target to shoot at. The small goal along with the big goalie pads makes the area to score in a fraction of what you will see when shooting on a Field goal with a Field goalie in net. This means that the most accurate shots, rather than the fastest are more likely to score. You will see players use their stick to fake very often because it gets the goalie to move and that is how you will create space within the goal to score. The need to be pinpoint accurate with shots and passes is only half of the offensive battle though. No matter the NLL team you watch, you will see players seem to feed and catch feeds despite being completely covered or in heavy traffic.
This ability to play around the opposing players and properly manage all of the space you are provided is the most valuable skill in Box and John Grant Jr. is a perfect example of a player to watch for that skill. Look him or John Tavares up on YouTube if you want to watch the Greats play. Be sure to add “Lacrosse” with John Tavares because there is a hockey player with the same name, but you are looking for the Box player who is also a Math Teacher). Once you have watched Box and learned the rules which can be found on NLL.com in the “About” section, you should practice some Box strategy and look for places to play Box.
The Style of Play in Box Lacrosse
Box lacrosse has a style of offense that is very different from what most field players are used to; which means picks, creative passing, and learning to play within tight spaces. To work on skills at home such as, the ones I just listed, or some more we will get into, I suggest getting a Box Lacrosse Goal that is 4 feet by 4 feet. This can be found on Amazon.com for $25 for a cheap plastic option if you just want one to use sparingly, or for around $100 if you want a lower-end metal that is great for the backyard.
Practice coming upfield from GLE and shooting toward the high far corner once you get a goal, or modify your current goal to have a smaller target. This C cut over a pick is a basic Box play that is highly effective. Another easy tactic is putting up a piece of plywood, around the size of a box goal, with a hole a little bigger than a ball in it. This allows you to play wall ball with an easy to make target and even the Thompsons use this tool.
Playing Defense in Box Lacrosse
So finally you have the stick skills to compete in Box. Now learn the defense. It’s all about body positioning and sliding as a unit. WORK THE ANGLES. This tidbit of advice is also a great offensive strategy. That shot around the pick with a C cut I told you to practice earlier also can be defended if you keep the cutter behind GLE. Also, keep in mind that there are no “moving picks” in Box and you will need to switch matchups often. Communicating with your defensive unit is essential to success on defense, and this means your goalie too. Remember not to screen him! So once you understand the team dynamic on defense along with softening up your hands for an offense you can start to play Box and not be embarrassed when you step within the glass.
Stop Making Excuses and Play!
Don’t be worried about making mistakes the first, or second, or any time that you play Box because the game is about risks and creativity. Dive in the crease and throw the behind the back passes. It’s OK. Please don’t bite off more than you can chew, but dig in my friends. Find a spot with you by talking to older players, stopping by a local Lacrosse store, looking online, or calling facilities that have indoor soccer. If you can’t find any Box leagues, try to start one.
Ask a parent or a Coach if they will help you reach out to a sports complex or gymnasium and find 20 players. Boom! You’ve got a weekly Box League. Easier said than done, but not impossible and the game is always growing. And if setting up a league isn’t in the cards for you like I said before, there are tons of Box leagues in the North. This means Northern US and Canada if you really wanna play. Take weekend trips to play in tournaments and you will not be disappointed. That is where the sport is played at the highest level and that is where you will get better the fastest. Try to get a Box helmet if you are going into a serious league or you might get a few comments made in your general direction, and rib/bicep pads are also a good addition if you don’t want too many bruises.
Outcomes of Participation
Playing Box will get you to work better with your team, recognize smarter times to sub, make you a better passer/feeder, and teach you to communicate better. All of these skills translate into the game of Field Lacrosse and will make you stand out among other players. Your ability to pinpoint the location of your shots and passes will be even more valuable with the increased goal size and space on the field.
Along with your offensive dominance, you will also be able to keep Dodgers outside of the middle of the field and force them to pass the ball off anytime you are on them. Your riding defense, if you are an attackman, will also improve as you can recreate a backcheck in Box when playing Field and potentially sub on a defensive player to help the ride. This set of skills will make you an overall better player and by adding them to your arsenal will set you a step above the field players that don’t play box. More and more college coaches are looking towards Canadian players that have a defined Box Lacrosse background, why don’t you show those coaches and your teammates that you are just as good if not better. Back to the Lacrosse Learning Center.
Used in the NLL and other box lacrosse leagues around the world, 4×4 box lacrosse goals require precision shooting to hit the frame that’s only 44% of the size of a field lacrosse goal.