Rules of box lacrosse

Box lacrosse rules of play

Box lacrosse is exceptionally popular in Canada, where it is usually played on an ice hockey rink once the ice has been removed or covered, but is also played elsewhere and growing in popularity. It is sometimes known as indoor lacrosse, boxla or box.

The sport has similarities in its rules to basketball and is typically played by men, often by hockey players in the off-season, although more and more women are getting involved in the game.

Rules of box lacrosse

The basics of box lacrosse

  • The field of play is called a box and is usually surrounded by boards topped with wires or netting.
  • The team with the most goals at the end of the game wins.
  • Six players per side consisting of five ‘runners’ and a goalie.
  • The players are known as centers, forwards, attack, and goalies.
  • All players must use standard lacrosse sticks 40in (1m) to 46in (1.2 m) in length. Goalies may use a wider mouthed goaltender's stick.
  • The game lasts 60 minutes and consists of three 20-minute periods.
  • Players must also wear a certain amount of protective equipment, including a lacrosse helmet with facemask, lacrosse gloves, arm and shoulder pads.

Starting and playing a game of box lacrosse

  • Each period is started with a face-off with the ball placed on the ground between the sticks of two players. Play is also restarted in this way after each goal.
  • When the ball goes out of play, the team who touched the ball last loses possession.
  • A 30-second shot clock means that the attacking team must take a shot on goal with 30 seconds of gaining possession.
  • Players must advance the ball from their own defensive end to the offensive half of the floor within 10 seconds.
  • Players can check another player’s stick but for the check to be legal it must not be above the shoulders, below the waist, when the opponent is not on their feet, or when a non-ball carrier is outside the dotted line on the floor.
  • Games ending with a tied score are decided by a sudden death overtime. Each overtime period is five minutes long but the game ends immediately a goal is scored.
  • Teams may substitute players in and out freely while the game is in play.
  • There are no offsides, meaning the game is fast-flowing.
  • Minor penalties such as too many players, tripping, charging, checking from behind, elbowing, high sticking, holding the ball with your hands, result in the removal of the offending player for 2 minutes.
  • Major penalties such as butt-ending, boarding, cross-checking, throwing the stick and face-masking, result in a 10-minute removal of the player from the field.
  • Player who amass five penalties of any kind are expelled from the rest of the match.

Hopefully, we’ve given you enough to help you get a grasp of the basics of box lacrosse. The best way to pick the game up quickly is to watch some matches and then get playing.

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