Box lacrosse is a quicker version of field lacrosse and helps develop better lacrosse players. Box players will be able to enhance some areas of their game such as footwork, stick skills, awareness, and off ball movement.
Many players over look footwork as a skill because they are so focused on perfecting their stick skills. Footwork pertains to defense and is important because if you have great footwork, you are able to keep the offense in front of you, not get beat on a dodge, and force the offense to move the ball around.
With the number of touches a player receives in box lacrosse, players develop their stick skills quickly. Moving the ball around inside the box at a quick pace is essential because you must get the ball over the center line before 10 seconds and there is a 30 second shot clock that starts when a team gains possession of the ball. This forces the teams to move the ball up the floor quickly and get a shot off before the 30 second shot clock buzzer sounds. If the shot does not hit the goalie, the opposing team takes possession.
The awareness of each player increases with the movement of other players, when you have possession and are aware of where the opposing team is, the 30 second shot clock, getting the ball over half field before 10 seconds, and the time left in the game. There is a lot going on in a box lacrosse game and it builds the awareness of each player participating.
One thing every coach embeds in every players head is off ball movement. With the little space provided in box lacrosse, players are forced to move around and get open for the ball. Players can practice their pick and rolls and setting up plays to score a goal. The more movement in a game of box lacrosse, the harder it is on the defense and the better chances an offense will get to score.
If you have watched SUNY Albany or Syracuse Lacrosse game recently you have seem some finest talent in the NCAA today. Players like the Thompson trio (UAlbany) or Randy Staats (Syracuse) were raised in box lacrosse. Countless other NCAA teams have players who grew up playing mostly box lacrosse.
Coaches at the highest levels, including Dom Starsia (UVA) and Bill Tierney (Denver) are constantly talking about the benefits of our youth playing box lacrosse. Coaches at camps and tournaments are buzzing about the indoor game. Here are the top 10 reason why:
10. FASTER PLAY | The speed is way faster than anything you would see outdoors. It makes playing outside seem like going in slow motion
9. STICK HANDLING | Playing in closer spaces means your stick skills have to be tighter and quicker. Your stick handling improves because there is no room for error, quite literally. More touches; less players and the boards combine for more touches. The boards insure the ball is hardly ever out of play.
8. TRANSITION | Ball moves from defense to offense with increased speed. Players learn quickly to breakout and move the ball up the field.
7. DEFENSIVE BODY POSITION | No D-Poles means that defensive players have to use good body position and footwork, not the long stick, to be successful.
6. OFF-BALL MOVEMENT | Playing in such a tight area means it is that much harder to get open. Running through people to go to goal just doesn’t work. Players learn to cut, pick and keep in constant motion.
5. GOALIES SEE MORE RUBBER | Shots come hard and fast. Goalies see more shots in a shorter period of time. Their hands and reaction time become much quicker.
4. SHOOTING ACCURACY | Gary Gait is among many who have gone on record about the shooting accuracy that comes from playing box lacrosse. Shooting on the 4×4 goal makes the 6×6 in out seem HUGE!
3. REACTION TIME | Almost every point made deals with faster speeds. A byproduct of playing faster is you have to react faster. That means faster to a ground ball, faster in transition, faster to play the ball, faster to shoot the ball. You name it, your reaction to it get faster.
2. PLAYER SAFETY | When it comes to pre-season training, the goal is to get better for the Spring season, not get hurt. Many indoor facilities boast full fields, which ultimately are surrounded by some sort of netting. As one of the area’s top orthopedic doctors pointed out, the box is a safer playing surface. There is nothing to get tripped up on and in to.
1. PROVEN SUCCESS | You can list as many of the benefits as you want, but the proof is in the success that box players have. Look at the most successful players over the last decade. The majority play box in the off season. Paul Rabil, Casey Powell, the Gait brothers. No matter who you identify with, the common thread is that they have or still do play box lacrosse.
What to the experts say about Box Lacrosse:
“I knew that if I wanted to be one of the best players in the world, I would have to dedicate myself to both the indoor and the outdoor game. Playing indoor lacrosse has been a great thing for my career.”
-MLL/NLL All-Star Casey Powell
“When you watch Canadian kids score, when you see their skill level around the cage, you wonder to yourself, ‘Jeez, are we teaching kids [in the U.S.] the wrong things?”
-4x NCAA Championship Coach Dom Starsia, University of Virginia
“Being a part of the finesse and physicality of box lacrosse has been a great experience for me. I feel that I have learned and improved as an overall lacrosse player. Learning to adapt in tight space while reading defenders and offensive players has been the biggest improvement in my game.”
-MLL/NLL All-Star Paul Rabil