Change Team: 


Paul Carcaterra, ESPN Analyst and Syracuse University All-American Midfielder:

"When training, it's all about touches for me. To give American players an opportunity to play in tight quarters is critical.  To be honest, Canadians have passed the American players in the stick skill department.  Just look at the landscape of college lacrosse and the leading offensive scorers  to confirm this opinion.  More importantly, indoor lacrosse is a blast! At the end of the day, it should be about having fun first."








When it was announced the 2015 World Indoor Lacrosse Championship would be played inside the world famous Carrier Dome earlier this year, the ambiance at the press conference was intense. It was the perfect opportunity for an ambassador of our game to step up at the podium and make a bold statement about the sport of lacrosse. Lucky for all of us, Syracuse men’s lacrosse coach John Deskoeffortlessly rose to the occasion.

I think all young kids should play box first.
– Coach John Desko

Speaking passionately about the differences between “field” lacrosse and “box” lacrosse, every word rolling off of Coach Desko’s tongue seemed authentic and unrehearsed. All-in-all, Desko made several points worth running passed anyone and everyone who’s ever had a preference (or will have a preference) for either style of the game.

  The Many Benefits of Box 

With a 211-66 overall record, John Desko (Head Coach, Syracuse men’s lacrosse) has the highest winning percentage of any active lacrosse coach at the NCAA Division I ranks. Here are the many benefits of box lacrosse (also known as indoor) according to him:

 Like hockey, the ball never goes out of bounds. It bounces off the boards and always stays in play.


 Players get more touches and repetitions.


 The ball moves faster, and there’s more flow to the game.


 It’s more like basketball in terms of stoppage of play, whereas field lacrosse is more like football.


 There’s more scoring. The games are more fun to watch because all of the goals.


 The 30-second shot clock speeds up the pace.


By now, those who lead 24/7 lives as lacrosse professionals have accepted the “box lacrosse trend” as a trend-no-longer. We have finally come to recognize what box can do and has done for the game. After all, box lacrosse is the game just as much as its counterpart.

“Lacrosse,” as those outside our game see it, is just a sport like any other. But we all know it isn’t quite that simple – or at least we ought to all know that by now. There are such greater depths to which we must understand our game.

Call it the “box training,” the “hybrid,” or whatever-you-want-to-call-it model, but the fact always remains the same. Close-quarter training leads to faster skill improvement for a lacrosse player of any size, speed, or age.


Box Lacrosse Testimonials from Box Lacrosse Association of America (www.blalax.com)


6X NCAA Championship Coach Bill Tierney, University of Denver:

“If I had my choice, I would have every player under the age of 12 play box lacrosse exclusively or at least a majority of the time.  The number of touches of the ball and the ability to develop better stick skills in a game of box lacrosse far surpasses what happens on a field.  Learning how to pass and catch in traffic, understanding how to shoot, and developing a sense of physicality are all positive traits developed by the box game.”

MLL/NLL All-Star Paul Rabil:

“Being a part of the finesse and physicality of box lacrosse has been a great experience for me. I feel that I have learned and improved as an overall lacrosse player. Learning to adapt in tight space while reading defenders and offensive players has been the biggest improvement in my game.”

4x NCAA Championship Coach Dom Starsia, University of Virginia:

"When you watch Canadian kids score, when you see their skill level around the cage, you wonder to yourself, 'Jeez, are we teaching kids [in the U.S.] the wrong things?"

MLL/NLL All-Star Casey Powell:

“I knew that if I wanted to be one of the best players in the world, I would have to dedicate myself to both the indoor and the outdoor game. Playing indoor lacrosse has been a great thing for my career.”

Top 10 Reasons to Play Box Lacrosse

If you watched a single game on TV during the 2011 NCAA lacrosse season, you heard an announcer comment on "playing box lacrosse".  Coaches at the highest levels, including Dom Starsia (UVA) and Bill Tierney (Denver) are constantly talking about the benefits of our youth playing box lacrosse. Coaches at camps and tournaments are buzzing about the indoor game. The Canadians all do it, and here are the top 10 reason why:

10. FASTER PLAY | The speed is way faster than anything you would see   outdoors.  It makes playing outside seem like going in slow motion

9. STICK HANDLING | Playing in closer spaces means your stick skills have to be tighter and quicker.  Your stick handling improves because there is no room for error, quite literally. More touches; less players and the boards combine for more touches. The boards insure the ball is hardly ever out of play.

8. TRANSITION | Ball moves from defense to offense with increased speed.  Players learn quickly to breakout and move the ball up the field.

7. DEFENSIVE BODY POSITION | No D-Poles means that defensive players have to use good body position and footwork, not the long stick, to be successful. 

6. OFF-BALL MOVEMENT | Playing in such a tight area means it is that much harder to get open.  Running through people to go to goal just doesn't work.  Players learn to cut, pick and keep in constant motion.

5. GOALIES SEE MORE RUBBER | Shots come hard and fast.  Goalies see more shots in a shorter period of time.  Their hands and reaction time become much quicker.

4. SHOOTING ACCURACY | Gary Gait is among many who have gone on record about the shooting accuracy that comes from playing box lacrosse. Shooting on the 4x4 goal makes the 6x6 in out seem HUGE!

3. REACTION TIME | Almost every point made deals with faster speeds.  A byproduct of playing faster is you have to react faster.  That means faster to a ground ball, faster in transition, faster to play the ball, faster to shoot the ball.  You name it, your reaction to it get faster.

2. PLAYER SAFETY | When it comes to pre-season training, the goal is to get better for the Spring season, not get hurt.  Many indoor facilities boast full fields, which ultimately are surrounded by some sort of netting.  As one of the area's top orthopedic doctors pointed out, the box is a safer playing surface.  There is nothing to get tripped up on and in to.

1. PROVEN SUCCESS | You can list as many of the benefits as you want, but the proof is in the success that box players have.  Look at the most successful players over the last decade.  The majority play box in the off season.  Paul Rabil, Casey Powell, the Gait brothers.  No matter who you identify with, the common thread is that they have or still do play box lacrosse.


In my lifetime and, more specifically, over the past 10 years, I’ve rarely ever met someone of high esteem in the lacrosse community who differentiated between the styles of the game when he/she spoke. To me, that’s just been further validation that Box Lacrosse and Field Lacrosse are really just one in the same.

All kids should play this beautiful game!