Written by Bryan Hopper for Blue Star Lacrosse 

THE BEST THING YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR GAME THIS WINTER

REASON 1. LOOK AT THE CANADIANS 

In 2006, Team Canada beat Team USA in the field World Championships. In 2010, USA beat Canada by 2. In 2014, Canada beat USA again 8-5. This USA team included the likes of Paul Rabil and Rob Pannel to name just a few. The best field players in the world. Yet USA still lost to Canada (who had some of their own superstars albeit) and those in the lacrosse world began to wonder how this could be happening. The answer they found was that the box lacrosse foundation of the Canadians was still superior to the athleticism of Team USA. While Team USA may have been better athletes, they were not better lacrosse players. Add to this, the 24-0 record that Team Canada has against all other countries at the indoor lacrosse championships and it doesn’t compare.

Secondly, take a look at the scoring prowess of Canadians in the college game. They are everywhere! For example Denver’s championship team this past year – their captain Wes Berg is Canadian, and the rest of their roster was stacked with players who grew up playing indoors. It is no wonder that college coaches are looking north more and more to find players who can put the ball in the back of the net! The Thompson brothers played box growing up their whole life!

REASON 2. BOX LACROSSE DEVELOPS STICK SKILLS + LACROSSE IQ

Box lacrosse is played in a hockey rink, 5v5 with goalies and no defensive long sticks.

Stick Skills – The goals are much smaller and the goalies have much larger pads, leaving players very little open net to shoot at and much tighter spaces to ball handle in! In such a tight space, players MUST learn to have great stick skills and be able to pick the spots they shoot at! If you watch the Canadians play (Mark Matthews, John Grant Jr. to Name a few), their stick skills are second to none and they score goals in bunches. That because they honed their skills playing box on 4’x4′ nets! Also, for defense, defenders can only use short sticks which forces them to really work on their stick skills! Especially ground balls and getting the ball UP THE FIELD.

Lacrosse IQ – Box lacrosse has a 30 second shot clock (like NBA) which means the game is very fast. Players must constantly be aware of the time, score and shotclock. This forces them to take all of those factors and make a split-second decision every time they get the ball. And since the game is so back and forth – players get many more reps. The feedback is instantaneous where as in field it might be a few minutes before you get off to the sideline to hear your coach explain things to you. Box shifts are fast and short which allows you to talk to your coaches a lot more than you would otherwise. For offense, players must be able to know when and where to take a good shot because there is such limited space to shoot at!

REASON 3. REPETITIONS REPETITIONS REPETITIONS

Because box lacrosse has a 30 second shot clock. The amount of shots per game is much higher than that of outdoor lacrosse. The game is back and forth which gives players many more chances and touches than they would have otherwise. For example, a penalty in box lacrosse is 2 minutes long compared to 30 seconds for outdoor! That means you are guaranteed 4 possessions on man up (30 second shot clock).

REASON 4. BODY POSITIONING

Unlike field, where a player has much more space to attack/defend. Box lacrosse is all close- quarters. For offensive players they learn how to handle to ball much better with a defenseman draped all over their hands and must learn how to use their body to shield their stick from being checked! For a defenseman, there is no better way to practice your defense then to use a short stick. Particularly, in box lacrosse, there is also a lot of pick play/2 man play -another fundamental concept defensemen hone in on playing box. They must always have their bodies between the ball carrier and the net because the field is so small!

BOTTOM LINE: BOX LACROSSE IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF DEVELOPING YOUR GAME

HERE'S WHAT THE COLLEGE COACHES AND PROS ARE SAYING

"Every Kid Should Play Box Lacrosse"

-JOHN DESKO, HEAD COACH SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY
"America field players would really help themselves if they were exposed to a steady stream of box experience"

-DOM STARSIA, HEAD COACH UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA

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