Over the last couple of years Box Lacrosse has grown in popularity here in the UK and in Europe. Although Box lacrosse may not be for everyone, I recommend that every player should give it a chance.
Much like Sixes, Box is a small sided game with five outfield players and a goalie per team. With a 30 second shot clock the pace is high which makes for a fantastic watch. Typically played on a turfed over ice hockey rink the ball rarely goes out of play with the ball being held in by the boards.
The spiritual home of box lacrosse in Europe is in Prague at the Aleš Hřebeský Memorial. With teams from all over Europe and teams from Canada attending it is one of the best tournaments I have attended.
So why should you play box lacrosse?
With a tighter, players must learn to have great stick skills and be able to pick the spots they shoot for. If you watch any of the great Canadian and Native players like the Thompson Brother, Mark Matthews and John Grant Jr, their stick skill are second to none, all because they honed their skills indoors on small nets and big goalies. Even defensemen will benefit with transition opportunities available on most plays.
The speed of the game with 30 second shot clock greatly improves lacrosse IQ. You need to be aware of the time, score and shot clock. Which forces you to make split second decisions every time you get the ball. With specific role in the team you play in offence or defense rarely both. The shifts are fast and short which allows you to talk with your coaches a lot more than you would otherwise.
In the enclosed space you see so many more reps than you would normally playing field lacrosse. Many of the top box team will take upwards of 100 shots per game, compared to the 40-60 shots in field. Penalties are also longer in box (2 minutes) meaning that you are guaranteed to see at least 2 man up opportunities for a single penalty.
Offensive players will learn to handle the ball much better with defenders draped all over them and use their body to protect their stick. Shooting around the defense is also a key skill that you will learn playing box. With no long poles to rely on defenders must use proper positioning forcing the offence to the corner and away from the middle of the field.
What a lot of people don't realize is how much off ball movement is just as important as on ball. Off ball players must pick and roll to get their hands free inside. Defensively communication through the 2-man game is vital as well as communicating as a team.
Here at Northern Soul we have a decent offering of box equipment. A few must buy items that your going to need are kidney pads, bicep pads and handles that will stand up to checks in the box game.