(courtesy of Bluestarlacrosse)
Box lacrosse is played in a hockey rink, 5v5 with goalies and no defensive long sticks.
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 and natives play outdoors (e.g Thompson Brothers, Mark Matthews, John Grant Jr.), 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! Being accurate with your stick is a must in Box lacrosse - you cannot just blow it by the goalie, you must be able to hit what you aim for! This is excellent not just for offense but for defensive players who must use short sticks and hone their stick skills!
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.
Box lacrosse is played in an hockey rink where the ball hardly goes out of bounds and games are 5 v 5 which makes the game extremely fast paced! Many pro box teams will have upwards of 100 shots on goal each game! Compare that to the 40 or so a team gets playing field lacrosse!
Players get a lot of playing time - in fact many players will say it's more exhausting than outdoors! There is no standing around!
Box lacrosse also has a 30 second shot clock, so 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. Many high level box teams can get upwards of 100 shots on goal per game. Compare that to just the 40-60 shots on goal per game field teams get and you can see why box players are such effective shooters.
Additionally, 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).
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! They must also learn how to shoot around their defender. For a defenseman, there is no better way to practice your defense then to use a short stick because you can't rely on a 6 foot pole!!! You must play proper position defense! In box lacrosse, the 2 man pick game is an essential aspect and defending 10-15 picks a game with a short stick will only help your outdoor game!
What most people don't realize is that the movement off-ball in box lacrosse is just as important as on-ball movement. Becuase the game is so fast paced and in such a tight space, offense doesn't have time to just sit back and set up a big play - there is constant movement all the time on offense! Off-ball players must set picks, roll off picks, have their hands free, all while having defenseman on their hands!! Defensively, communicating through the 2 man game is VITAL. Additionally, defensive players must communicate as a whole in order to be successful with the speed of this game!!