Box Lacrosse 101




· Lacrosse has similarities to other sports, but is probably most like hockey and basketball.

· It has checking, shooting and goaltending like hockey, but has the 1-on-1 play, ball control, offensive and defensive strategies more like basketball (i.e. screening, transition, fast break, etc.).

 · The ball may be kicked, but a goal cannot be scored this way.

· Each team is allowed 6 players on the floor at one time, one of them normally being a goalie, the others are often referred to as ‘runners’. A team can dress a maximum of 18 runners and 2 goalies.

·The goalie in Lacrosse can come out to play anywhere on the floor and functions as any other player on the team. For safety reasons, a goalie may NOT initiate any body contact on opponents.

· The floor is divided into 3 zones: attacking, centre, and defensive. What is one team's attacking zone is the other's defensive zone. There is no center red line and no off sides.

· The typical positioning for offense and defense is shown in the diagram. However, there are many variations based on the game situation.

· Legal contact can be made with offensive players that do not have the ball, but only in designated areas and based on the division of play (i.e. Novice/Pee Wee: 24’ circle). If your team has possession of the ball, you cannot check back. Any responsive checking will result in loss of possession.

· Checking is an important part of the game but checking from behind and violent checks into the boards are not allowed.

· Unlike hockey, cross-checking is not a penalty unless it is from behind or violent in nature. A cross-check to the top of the shoulder or higher could be penalized as a ‘high stick’.

 · High sticking is a judgment call. Player’s are expected to maintain control of their stick at all times. Generally speaking, in the younger divisions (novice & pee wee), any stick contact with the helmet, and specifically the facemask, is an automatic penalty.

Except for goalies in their crease, players may not contact the ball with their hand. This would result in awarding possession to the other team.

· A player with the ball cannot push off with their free hand or arm. If so, possession is awarded to the other team. Defensive players are also not allowed to use a free hand and may be penalized for it.

 · You cannot go into the other team's crease to take a shot, or cut through it. Checking a player or touching the goalie while in the opposing team's crease results in a penalty.

· While killing a penalty, a team has 10 seconds to move the ball into their own attacking zone.


· Adding to the speed of the game is a 30 second shot clock, similar to basketball. The combination of action and reaction makes the game as much fun to watch as it is to play.

· Canada holds National Championships in every age category starting at the Pee Wee (11-12) level. The award for the premiere Junior A (17-21) championship is the Minto Cup, while Junior B teams compete at the National level for the Founders Cup. The best Senior A players (over 21) in Canada play for the Mann Cup, while the Senior B teams compete for the Presidents Cup.

· Box Lacrosse is quickly becoming popular outside of North America. Australia, Great Britain, and the Czech Republic are developing strong programs to compete with Canada and the U.S..



· The offensive strategy in Lacrosse is similar to that of basketball. Once a team has possession of the ball, it may operate a 'fast break' offense by looking for the break-away pass, or it may operate a ball-control offense and walk the ball down the floor.

· Once the offensive team has the ball in the attacking zone, they will be looking for a good 1-on-1 situation where their best ball handler can beat his man, or for a player open in the 'prime scoring area' to whom the ball can be passed. The 'prime scoring area' is the zone in front of the crease from which most goals are scored. It can be compared to the 'slot' in hockey.

· Once the team loses possession of the ball it immediately retreats into its defensive zone. Most defenses play a man-to-man coverage. Hockey style fore checking generally does not exist as for the same reasons as in basketball, the ball carrier has such good ball control that it is highly unlikely a turnover will occur. Only near the end of very close games, or possibly during shorthanded situations, will you see teams 'press' in their attacking zone.

 · Players who shoot right (right hand is held closest to the head/pocket) normally play the left side of the offense and vice versa for those players who shoot left. This is so that the head of the stick and the ball are closer to the center of the playing surface. This is very important when cutting to the net to take a shot.


· Players taking the face-off line up with their right shoulder closest to their own goal. The open face of their stick must be facing their own goal and both feet must be behind the parallel lines at the face-off circle.

· When the referee blows the whistle, players must draw their sticks straight back until the head of the stick has cleared the center dot. Withholding the ball from play is a loss of possession.

· Other players cannot cross the restraining lines until the ball leaves the 2’ face-off circle.

 · If a player kicks the opponent's stick or physically gains an advantage by pushing, possession is awarded to the non-offending team.




· In box lacrosse, other than the goalkeeper in the crease, players may not handle the ball with their hands. A player can make contact with the ball with their glove if their hand is still on their stick, but no glove passes of any kind are permitted.

· Players in box lacrosse are permitted to make contact with, or have possession of, the ball above the normal height of the shoulders. However, the stick must be kept under control and cannot make contact with an opponent at this height (other than stick to stick), even during a shot.

 · Shooting a live ball down the floor is not an infraction of any rule. The other team (usually the goalie) will simply pick up the ball and quickly pass it back down the floor again. Since box lacrosse is a possession game, there is greater advantage in maintaining possession.

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