Box lacrosse has nothing to do with boxes or boxing. The “box” is the indoor area -- typically a hockey rink without ice -- in which the sport is played. Indoor lacrosse is basically a combination of lacrosse and ice hockey that’s particularly popular in Canada, but is also played in the United States. As with any sport, you’ve got to practice before you become perfect, so performing drills with your teammates is a good first step.
Box Lacrosse Rules
Unlike outdoor lacrosse, the box lacrosse playing area is surrounded by boards 3 1/2 to 4 feet tall. As with hockey, the playing surface is divided into two offensive zones plus a center zone. Teams field six players at a time, including a goalkeeper who defends a net measuring either 4 feet square, or 4 feet high by 4 1/2 feet long. In another key difference from the outdoor game, teams must shoot within 30 seconds of gaining possession of the ball, unless they’re shorthanded by a penalty.
Motion Offense Drills
The 30-second rule places a premium on a fast-moving offense. To practice a motion-type offense, set one player just outside the goal crease and another on the perimeter on the same half of the floor. The perimeter player passes to the player near the crease, who then runs to the perimeter while the first passer goes to the net. You can also add a defender to the drill who originally covers the player near the crease, then chases her to the perimeter after she receives the pass. Run a three-on-two motion drill with one offensive player by the crease and two on the perimeter, plus two defenders, who cover the crease player and the nearest perimeter player. The unguarded perimeter player passes to whoever’s open. The pass receiver rotates to unguarded spot, while the initial passer rotates to fill the open spot.
You’re likely to face more shots, and quicker shots, as an indoor lacrosse goalkeeper, so it’s important to prepare for the style of play you’ll likely encounter. To improve your focus on the ball and to avoid closing your eyes when a player shoots, or fakes a shot, bounce a soft object, such as a tennis ball, off of your forehead while keeping at least one eye open. Additionally, draw lines or numbers on a lacrosse ball, then try to read the numbers while playing to improve your concentration and hand-eye coordination. To prepare for players dashing from one side of your zone to the other, have forwards run from the offensive zone faceoff circles diagonally across the floor toward the far corner. As the goalkeeper, you’ll track each shooter and remain in good position to make a save whenever the attacker decides to shoot.
Standard Ballhandling Drills
Ball-handling drills are common to both outdoor and box lacrosse. Have players practice scooping up loose balls, passing and receiving, and running with the ball while keeping their sticks in the proper position to maintain possession. To perform a three-player ball-handling drill, have one of the three players roll a ground ball to a second. The receiver turns, then passes to one of the other two players, turns again and receives a pass over her shoulder. The receiver can catch a few more passes or grounders before another of the three players takes her place and repeats the pattern. The drill is also a good pre-game warmup exercise.
M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.