The Differences Between Field Lacrosse and Box Lacrosse

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The Growing Need For Field and Box Lacrosse Skill Sets

Lacrosse continues to enjoy a growing popularity in the United States. It is becoming a sport played in schools and colleges all across the country. Interestingly, it’s very likely that the lacrosse games you’ve seen played over the years have been field lacrosse. While field lacrosse is very popular in the US, it’s also not the only type of lacrosse. Box lacrosse is a variant of lacrosse that is most commonly known as indoor lacrosse. It enjoys a healthy popularity in Canada where it is played indoors on covered or converted ice hockey rinks.

Box lacrosse became common in areas where the weather prevented field lacrosse due to poor conditions. You can find a summer camp for both types of lacrosse. There are enough other significant differences between the two games that make them two distinct sports. Box lacrosse has more contact than field lacrosse. Box lacrosse shares many similarities with ice hockey including field or play area size. Box lacrosse has a small playing area when compared to field lacrosse played on a football field. Pinching is another skill found in box lacrosse not allowed in field lacrosse. Pinching the ball is an illegal move in field lacrosse because the ball must be allowed to move unimpeded.


Goal-tending: Between The Boards

The goal-tending area is much larger in field lacrosse, but in the box variety the goals are quite small. There are six players on each indoor lacrosse team; this is four more than on a field lacrosse team. Already, noting some of the difference between the two sports make the physicality of box lacrosse understandable. Limited space, smaller goals, and fewer people considerably change the pace and gameplay of this variety of lacrosse.

The goalie in a game of box lacrosse is heavily guarded. The goalie wears gloves, helmets, shoulder pads, chest protectors, and leg and thigh pads. This is considerably more gear than is needed for a goalie in field lacrosse. The goalie for outdoor lacrosse only wears gloves, a chest protector, helmet and a throat guard. Box lacrosse also used a different stick. There are two types of lacrosse sticks used in field lacrosse because of the differences needed for each position. Defenders and attackers need different sticks. The attacker’s stick needs to be about 40” long. The defender stick needs to be closer to 52”, but can be as long as 72”. In box lacrosse, the sticks are considerably shorter on account of the size of the play area. There are other areas of the game like rules and regulations that change between the two sports like the use of a shot clock.


Equipment Differences

Because box lacrosse uses more pinching than field lacrosse, the stick netting is different. The stringing style is designed to hold on tight to the ball. The shafts of the sticks are more robust to make them durable and able to withstand hard checks. Box lacrosse uses hockey mask, which is also a bit lighter than the standard field lacrosse helmet. They do not need cleats in box lacrosse because it’s an indoor sport. Their uniform clothing is similar to that of a hockey team.


Year-Round Accessibility

While the average US Lacrosse team is a field type team, it is possible to find box lacrosse camps and clubs across the country. Because box lacrosse is played indoors, it has a flexible season schedule. Finding a summer camp that teaches the skills needed to play box lacrosse can be found by searching the same camps that offer field lacrosse. They may offer both sports in an alternating fashion. Many camps offer both women and men’s camps on a similar alternating rotation.

In summary, if you enjoy field lacrosse, you will likely enjoy box lacrosse. The sports will seem similar in many ways. Start by watching a box lacrosse game. They are different sports, and they appear as such when watched. Because they both have an undercurrent of the same game, picking up on the rules and strategies of box lacrosse will be easy for any seasoned field lacrosse player. The most general difference between the two games is the rougher and more physical play of box lacrosse. The game is more contact based and allows stick play not allowed in field lacrosse. This aspect may present an initial challenge for field lacrosse players making a switch, but it is easily surmounted.