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US Lacrosse Unveils Box Lacrosse Rules, Our Job is to Grow The Game

Finally, US Lacrosse, the nation’s governing body, has issued a set of box lacrosse rules with insurance policy.

The national governing body of lacrosse in the United States, US Lacrosse, has officially published a set of box lacrosse rules. This is colossal, and the current landscape of lacrosse as it exists in the United States is in for a bit of a shakeup. Tomorrow? Probably not. Next week? Nope.

What was released yesterday was the catalyst for influencing and developing future generations of players.

Please go back and read that sentence again.

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If you elected not to, that’s okay, because I’m going to say it again. The next generation of youth lacrosse players in the United States are going to be infinitely better served because of this publication by US Lacrosse.

There’s No Kool-Aid to Drink… Yet

Now, let’s be clear, the rules put forth by US Lacrosse are not what I find to be ideal.

There are a couple little things I think need re-wording, because I’m finicky like that. There are also some things I flat out just don’t agree with.

What’s important to take away from my not-liking every single word in this document is that it’s okay. It’s okay not to agree with every bit. Are there some serious changes that need to be made? Absolutely. Are there some glaring and obvious contradictions*? Sure are. Will this rulebook stand the test of time and be safe from any edits ever?! I strongly doubt it.

US Lacrosse has found a way to amend rules for the field game at just about every LaxCon. How could you imagine the same won’t be the case for box? When enough people speak, they listen.

Box lacrosse has been developing at a grassroots level, with different organizations and clubs taking stabs at establishing clinics, games, instructions and leagues. There’s been a real effort from a lot of excellent guys hailing from both sides of the border to get box lacrosse going for the youngest of our players, as well as girls and adults.

Colorado Jr. Mammoth
American programs, Swarm & Mammoth in Jr. NLL event.

Some programs have enjoyed success and the benefits of playing box lacrosse have obviously benefitted those who have been fortunate to partake in the limited offerings.

The obvious hurdles hindering the growth of box lacrosse in America have been complications such as additional equipment costs for runners, but more specifically finding willing goaltenders and appropriate facilities.

The real big one has been, “Ah, great. I’ve put on an instructional program introducing box lacrosse to youth players in my town. They love it… Now what?”

The obvious answer would be “Hey fella, you should play a game now! Kids love your program, now let’s see it in action!”

Putting It in Action

So now fella is all happy and he wants to play a game against the team the next town over, who also has had some instruction.

  • What are the rules?
  • What lines do I need to put down?
  • What equipment is MANDATORY or ILLEGAL for play?
  • Who is going to referee this game?
  • What rules come to mind when Jimmy Referee thinks of ‘box lacrosse’?

Finally, US Lacrosse has laid out a very clear basic set of rules and regulations for how a game should be conducted.

Why did we need that?

Because Coach Fella #1, Coach Fella #2, and Jimmy Referee need not get their asses sued off when someone inevitably gets hurt. Here’s the big kicker ladies and gentlemen.

If you take NOTHING else away from this article, please take away that US LACROSSE ISSUING A SET OF RULES MEANS THAT US LACROSSE CAN PROVIDE INSURANCE FOR PLAYERS, COACHES, OFFICIALS, GAMES, TOURNAMENTS AND LEAGUES.

Good, Real Insurance Via the Governing Body

Setting clear parameters, rules, and codes of conduct, US Lacrosse can provide governance over the expansion of box lacrosse in the United States. Do you have to abide by these rules? Do you like fighting**? Would you like to see body checking off-ball as it has never existed before? SURE!

You can do whatever you like, have “old school box”, but buddy, you’re not going to have US Lacrosse insuring you, or your kids. I dare you to call up that plug you went to high school with who’s selling insurance and ask for a quote to insure your league. The number will be a lot higher than US Lacrosse’s membership fee.

Jr. Knighthawks Jr. NLL box lacrosse box lacrosse rules
Jr. Knighthawks receiving instruction from pros.

This article isn’t going to get into specifics of what rules are different from CLA rules, and which are the same, and what’s missing or wrong. I’m sure we’ll dive into that later, but I really just wanted to do my part in spreading the word that we’ve taken a step in the right direction. Now it’s up to the governing body of lacrosse in this country to take the reins and get this thing going.

But, Brian… X Rule is Crap!

There are some errors, and some interesting dialogue has already begun. Quite a bit, honestly.

I won’t get into debates with loudmouths on Facebook, but I’m fascinated with the back-and-forth that’s come forward in the brevity of this rule book’s existence. You have rule nerds citing exact sections of CLA handbooks and using empirical data contrasting old guys that are just mad that fighting isn’t legal.

box lacrosse rules CitySideLax
CitySideLax (Seattle) scrimmage with Mission (BC) in Canada.

The important thing is that if you’re over the age of sixteen, these rules really weren’t written for you.

They were written for 200,000+ youth lacrosse players, both male and female, who will be getting an introduction to box lacrosse for the first time in the coming years. These kids will be wearing full pads, they will be exposed to full contact within the parameters of the rules, and they will be shooting on goaltenders wearing adequate and safe amounts of padding in correctly sized goals.

Whether or not you are happy with certain sections of the rules or not is erroneous.

I think we can all be happy here, a true rarity in these days. US Lacrosse has officially recognized box lacrosse as a separate game with different rules, and will still be brought under the wing of the governing body that protects all its members.

Lower Our Heads and Get to Work

There’s a lot of work to do. Countless hours of instruction with hundreds of dedicated coaches and players really trying to teach and learn the box game. These rules will need to be implemented and referees will need to go through certifications and beyond.

It’s a long road ahead, but we’ve taken a huge first step.

The writing has been on the wall for years. Box lacrosse provides players with certain skills and mindsets that simply don’t exist in the field game.

This is a catalyst that will take years to come to fruition. When we do come to a sustainable model, I truly believe that the caliber of players being churned out on a regular basis are going to be some of the best we’ve ever seen.

Let Me Hear Ya, Love or Hate Me

Let’s talk about this. Keep the conversation going. What questions do you have? What do you not like? Why?

The more dialogue that goes into this, the more people pay attention. You know who’s scouring the Facebook and Twitter feeds reading all this back and forth? The guys (and lady) who wrote the thing. The degrees of separation in the lacrosse world are down to like two, especially in box lacrosse.

If you have an honest point to make and can convey your argument in a constructive manner, you’ll get attention.

*I’d heavily recommend checking into the great discussion on helmets. I won’t get into it here, but it’s a pretty entertaining catch-22 and I’m really curious what will be done to fix this one.

**If you’re one of the “NO FIGHTING?!? This sux. So soft. Part of tha game” goobers on the internet, you’re a clown. If you’d ever think that in 2017’s America anyone would ever insure a sport where fighting is condoned, you’re a lunatic. Is it still going to happen? I would put a dollar down that it will. The boys are going to be the boys. I’m fine with that, I love it, but if you step over the line between roughing to fighting, you’ll be leaving the game after. Injuries associated with fights won’t be covered under the insurance and will be liable for suit because you weren’t playing lacrosse, you were fighting.

3 comments
  1. I applaud USL for making this happen. Box makes you better, and kids love playing box. It fits right in line with the LADM, as well. Certainly makes that $30 USL membership more valuable, too!

    I’d love to see something that compares USBOXLA and USL Box Lacrosse rules – or at least points out the major differences. I’ve seen the USL rules – because they’re available to anyone – but the USBOXLA rules are reserved for members, as far as I can tell. What are the major areas of differentiation?

    1. Thanks for your thoughts! We feel the same. We are working on comparing the two, while also waiting to see how their relationship shakes out over the next few weeks. USL is the national governing body for lacrosse and non-profit. Hopefully USBOXLA finds a way to adapt and become a part of that.

  2. # That’s My goalie in the first pic Big Fish.
    #2 AAU has offered Box LaCrosse insurance for some time now and for less $. For $18 you are covered playing by a rule book that is much closer to the cla book and you are able to go to the Native territories and Canada and play non AAU members and still be fully covered. Unfortunately this membership is only good for U18 but it is something that we are working on.

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