What Is Box Lacrosse?


Box lacrosse, also known as indoor lacrosse, is a variant of the traditional field lacrosse played on a smaller, enclosed indoor field. The game originated in Canada and is known for its fast-paced and physical style of play. Here’s an explanation of box lacrosse along with a data table highlighting key aspects of the game:

Explanation of Box Lacrosse:

Box lacrosse is played with two teams, each consisting of six players, including a goaltender. The objective is to score goals by shooting a small rubber ball into the opposing team’s net. The game is typically played in four quarters, each lasting 15 minutes.

The playing field is a rectangular box with boards surrounding the playing area, similar to ice hockey rinks. The dimensions of a standard box lacrosse field vary, but it is generally around 200 feet long and 85 feet wide. The goals are placed at opposite ends of the field.

Players use short sticks with small pockets to carry, pass, and shoot the ball. The enclosed nature of the field and the smaller dimensions create a more intense and physical game compared to field lacrosse. The boards can be used strategically to make passes and create scoring opportunities.

Box lacrosse allows for a fast-paced style of play, with quick transitions and frequent contact between players. The close-quarters nature of the game requires players to have excellent stick skills, agility, and physicality.

Number of Players6 players per team (including a goaltender)
Field DimensionsApproximately 200 feet long, 85 feet wide
Game Duration4 quarters, 15 minutes each
EquipmentShort sticks with a small pocket, rubber ball
Playing SurfaceEnclosed indoor field with boards surrounding the area
Goal DimensionsVaries, but typically 4 feet high and 4 feet wide
Playing StyleFast-paced, physical, and intense
ContactContact is permitted and a significant part of the game
Offensive StrategiesQuick transitions, pick-and-roll plays, ball movement
Defensive StrategiesZone defense, aggressive checks, and stick positioning

Origins of Lacrosse and Its Evolution

Indigenous Origins: Lacrosse as a Native American Game

  1. Historical Significance and Cultural Importance:
    • Lacrosse holds deep cultural significance for many Native American tribes.
    • Played for various purposes, including recreation, religious rituals, and settling disputes.
  2. Early Versions of Lacrosse Played by Different Tribes:
    • Different tribes had their own variations of the game with unique rules and equipment.
    • Names varied among tribes, such as “baggataway” among the Ojibwe and “tehontatontah” among the Mohawk.

French Influence: Introduction of “Lacrosse” to Europe

  1. Accounts of Early French Settlers Observing the Game:
    • French explorers, missionaries, and settlers in North America witnessed lacrosse being played by Native Americans.
    • Early records describe the game’s physicality and skillful play.
  2. Adoption of Lacrosse by European Enthusiasts:
    • The French introduced lacrosse to Europe in the 18th century.
    • European spectators and players became intrigued by the game’s unique characteristics.

Early Developments and Spread

  1. Formation of Lacrosse Clubs and Organizations:
    • The Montreal Lacrosse Club, established in 1856, is recognized as one of the earliest organized lacrosse clubs.
    • The club played a crucial role in promoting the sport and laying the foundation for its development.
  2. Founding of the National Lacrosse Association (NLA) in 1877:
    • The NLA was the first governing body for lacrosse, setting rules and organizing competitions.
    • It helped standardize the game and fostered its growth in Canada and the United States.

Evolution of Lacrosse

  1. Collegiate Lacrosse in the United States:
    • The first collegiate lacrosse team was formed in the 1870s at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI).
    • Intercollegiate competitions gained popularity, leading to the establishment of the United States
    • Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) in 1883.
  2. Codification of Rules: The Birth of Modern Lacrosse:
    • The USILA played a vital role in standardizing the rules of lacrosse, creating a unified framework for the sport.
    • Major revisions were made over the years to enhance the game’s fairness, safety, and entertainment value.
  3. International Expansion and Recognition:
    • The International Lacrosse Federation (ILF), founded in 1974, facilitated the growth of lacrosse outside of North America.
    • The inclusion of lacrosse in international competitions, such as the World Lacrosse Championships, increased global recognition.

Modern Trends and Global Reach

  1. Growing Popularity and Participation Worldwide:
    • Lacrosse has expanded beyond its North American roots, with increasing participation from countries worldwide.
    • National lacrosse associations and leagues have been established in various countries, fostering the sport’s growth.
  2. Inclusion in Multi-Sport Events and International Recognition:
    • Efforts have been made to include lacrosse in the Olympic Games, showcasing its global appeal and competitive nature.
    • Lacrosse has gained recognition in multi-sport events like the World Games, Pan American Games, and Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games.

The Rules of Box Lacrosse

Field Dimensions and Equipment:

  • Indoor setting: Box lacrosse is played on a smaller, enclosed field.
  • Field dimensions: The typical box lacrosse field measures approximately 180 feet long by 80 feet wide.
  • Boards and glass: The playing area is surrounded by boards and glass, creating a contained playing environment.
  • Protective netting: Netting is installed above the boards to prevent balls from leaving the field.

Team Composition and Positions:

  • Team size: Each team consists of six players on the field, including a goaltender.
  • Goaltender: The goaltender plays a crucial role in defending the goal and stopping opposing shots.
  • Outfield players: The remaining five players make up the outfield, with different positions:
    1. Forward/Attack: Responsible for scoring goals and creating offensive plays.
    2. Transition/Transition Defense: Players who can switch between offensive and defensive roles, supporting both ends of the field.
    3. Defense: Focus on preventing the opposing team from scoring and clearing the ball.
  • Limited substitutions: Substitutions are allowed but must be made quickly and during stoppages in play.

Gameplay Mechanics and Objective

  • Face-offs: The game starts with a face-off at the center of the field, similar to traditional lacrosse.
  • Shot clock: Box lacrosse employs a shot clock to ensure fast-paced gameplay. Teams must take a shot on goal within a set time limit (typically 30 seconds).
  • Intense physicality: Contact is a fundamental part of box lacrosse, with players allowed to body-check opponents to gain possession or disrupt plays.
  • Limited time in the offensive zone: Teams have a limited time (typically 10 seconds) to advance the ball into the offensive zone. Failure to do so results in a turnover.
  • Play continuation: Unlike traditional lacrosse, box lacrosse allows play to continue even if the ball hits the boards or netting, promoting a faster tempo.
  • Scoring: The objective is to score goals by shooting the ball into the opposing team’s net. Each goal counts as one point.

Key Rule Differences Compared to Traditional Lacrosse

  • Limited field size: The smaller field dimensions in box lacrosse lead to a more intense and compact playing experience.
  • Shot clock: The shot clock ensures a quicker pace and continuous action, prompting teams to take shots within the allotted time.
  • Physicality: Box lacrosse allows for more contact between players, making it a more physical game compared to traditional lacrosse.
  • Reduced equipment: Box lacrosse players wear less protective equipment compared to traditional lacrosse players, as the indoor environment provides additional safety.
  • Goalie equipment: Box lacrosse goaltenders wear larger and more protective equipment to defend against faster shots.
  • Playstyle: The confined space and shot clock in box lacrosse emphasize quick passes, fast breaks, and efficient decision-making.


Leave a Comment