How to Start a Box Lacrosse Team – Five-Step Guide
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by our partners at Lacrosse All Stars on October, 22, 2020.
It can be a slog to start a box lacrosse team and get it off the ground and running, especially if you’ve never done it before. There is a lot to consider, and the resources aren’t as plentiful as in some other sports.
It can feel like an overwhelming challenge to overcome, but if you break down your big, overall goal into a few, smaller goals, you’ll find that starting a box lacrosse team can be done, and you can do it.
But to do it all on your own would be incredibly difficult. Don’t bother blindly bumbling through years of trail and error before you finally learn the tricks of the trade. With these five important steps and all the nuggets and tips inside, you’ll be way ahead of the curve and prepared to put together the team of your dreams.
1. Find A Box
It might sound obvious, and it is, but it’s a crucial first step in starting a box lacrosse team. And it can be easier said than done.
We recommend finding an indoor and outdoor facility, if possible. An outdoor venue helps keep costs down, but it is limited by weather – you can’t realistically practice in rain, snow and sleet, although shine will work. You won’t have to worry about the elements when you have an indoor facility at your disposal, but be prepared to pay a prettier penny and have to raise the price for your players.
Try looking into indoor soccer centers, roller rinks, inline hockey centers, drained hockey rinks and futsal courts to find your new home. Some of those places will already have availabilities set in for box lacrosse, while others might have never heard of such a thing but would gladly let you use their space for the right fee. This will be largely dependent upon where you are.
Keep distance in mind, too. Unless you have to, forcing a lot of your team to drive an hour to every game or practice probably won’t help with attendance. In some areas, that might be your nearest option, but if you have more choices, don’t let a long car ride or gas money be the difference between you having a dedicated, reliable player or not.
2. Stock Up On Box Equipment
It is extremely important for you to figure out your team’s equipment situation. Box lacrosse requires a lot of gear, and it can be expensive for individuals to purchase. Buying in bulk for the whole team can make a huge difference.
You can guarantee every runner will have the proper bicep pads and rib guards. You can’t leave this up to them. If you do, by the time they find out why they need them, it’ll be too late. This is box lacrosse; protection is necessary.
Outside of Canada, it can be difficult to impossible to find the right pads for box lacrosse at a local sporting goods store or lacrosse shop. Depending where you are, finding a bulk deal for your whole team could be the only way your players will get the gear they need.
Don’t forget about your goalies: if you ever want to have one on your team, you’ll need to buy a set of goalie equipment for the program. Goalie equipment for box lacrosse is too expensive to expect kids to come to you already prepared to get in net. You have to have it ready for them, so they can see what it’s like to stand between the pipes decked out in the proper pads, helmet and stick.
Try reaching out to manufacturers about deals, like Maximum Lacrosse. MaxLax is known to give great offers when buying in bulk to start programs and will have every piece of equipment needed for players and goalies of all sizes. Its equipment is also made specifically for box lacrosse with legendary goaltender Marty O’Neill behind the production.
If your budget is too strapped for new gear, look in online groups and on eBay for used goalie box equipment. As long as you keep goalie gear clean, it’ll last forever.
3. Welcome Outside Help
It takes a village.
Search for a governing body that can help you out. It could be local, it could be regional, it could be national; every place will be different. A good place to start in the United States is with USBOXLA. Founded in 2010, USBOXLA can help you get rules, resources, insurance and other things you probably didn’t even realize you needed to start a box lacrosse team. Other governing bodies or similar groups can be of use, too.
Reaching out to successful programs outside of you area that you’re familiar with can make a huge difference as well. Look north of the border for Canadian and First Nations programs with track records of success in their territory. See if program directors will give you advice on building out a practice, making plans and day-to-day operations management. If you can afford it, bring in people from successful programs to run practices and clinics in your town. Don’t limit it to only workouts for kids, though – make sure their wisdom is spread through events for adults, too. You’ll want your coaches and local officials to hear from people who have been in the sport and succeeded. The more knowledge they can absorb, the higher quality your games will be and the more your players and team will benefit.
It can seem daunting to start a box lacrosse team all on your own. That’s because it can be. Don’t be afraid to phone a friend and branch out to all your resources. There’s a lot of folks just waiting for an opportunity to talk lacrosse and share their knowledge.
4. Identify + Train Officials
You can’t play without officials, and you can’t play well without good officials.
Depending on where you are, there may or may not be an abundance of box-trained lacrosse refs. You can’t assume that field lacrosse refs will be any good at monitoring a box game. Without proper training on box lacrosse specifically, you can’t know that a ref will be able to keep everyone safe.
Therefore, we recommend you take matters into your own hands. Start training officials as soon as you begin your program by inviting them to your practices, games, events and anything else that makes sense. Teach them the game while they’re there and immersed in it. It can be a totally different thing watch a box game from afar and think you understand what’s going on compared to actually being in the box with the players and having to keep it all in check.
Having well trained officials who know what they’re doing and what they’re talking about is crucial, not only for the health and safety of the players or the sanctity of the game, but also for education. Instruction and help from officials during games can be huge for beginners when just learning the sport. A properly educated ref can explain rules to players and participants and spread knowledge through experience. This is one of the top ways for newcomers to transform to experts.
It might not seem like nurturing officials in your area is your responsibility, but your program will be significantly better off in every way if you can do what you can to ensure the refs that work your games and events are top notch.
5. Pick Opponents Wisely
Your team is nothing without another one to compete against.
Depending on where you are, it may be easier or harder to find competition. You might have to travel a good distance to find a game or tournament. Knowing how far you and your team are willing to travel is vital. You don’t want to book an event only for half your team to be unwilling to cross two states and spend five hours each way in transportation.
If you just started your team, then you’ll especially want to stay closer to home. If your team has some more experience, getting on a plane could be a fine move. KYP – Know Your Personnel.
Finding the right opportunity for competition can be tough, especially from scratch. PrimeTime offers a handful of events across the country for varying skill levels, and there’s bound to be one that works for your team in distance, competition and amenities.
Two great places to start are with PrimeTime’s Virginia Beach Box Classic and Galactic Games in New England. The Virginia Box Classic, held at the Virginia Beach Field House in Virginia Beach, Virginia, from Dec. 5-6, 2020, is open to boys with graduating years between 2021 and 2028. Each squad gets two games each day with qualifying teams playing a fifth match for the championship. The massive, state-of-the-art complex allows PrimeTime to easily run four games at the same time, plus plenty of room for dining and retail options within the facility and nearby, too. It’s a USBOXLA event, too, meaning everything is real: real box, real rules and no cut corners. This isn’t a last-second amateur attempt at a jamboree; this is a legitimate, fast-paced event that offers and opportunity to propel athletes to the next level. Anyone looking for box lacrosse competition in the mid-Atlantic should be on notice.
The Galactic Games will be held at the Seacoast United Indoor Arena in Hampton, New Hampshire, from Jan. 23-24, 2021, with the boys with grad years of 2025 through 2028 competing Saturday, Jan. 23, and the 2021 through 2024 groups suiting up Sunday, Jan. 24.
Located about an hour from Boston, Nashua and Portland, this tournament is perfect for box lacrosse teams anywhere in the New England area or nearby across the border. With three floors in the facility, PrimeTime can fit plenty of action into what sounds like a short amount of time. Like the Virginia Beach Box Classic, the Galactic Games are USBOXLA-approved, so you can expect the same professionalism: real refs, real games, real box. There aren’t tons of opportunities for kids in New England to play in real box lacrosse tournaments, so PrimeTime has stepped up to bring a world-class event to the region for young athletes who take the game seriously.
Space at both events is limited, and we’re quickly approaching the opening whistles for each. Don’t miss out on your opportunity to play real box in a real tournament and provide yourself and players with one of the most educational and growth experiences they can have in the sport.
The Virginia Beach Box Classic is definitely a can’t-miss event. If you’d like to register for the weekend, click the button below to visit the tournament page and register by hitting “Register Now.”
Get locked in for the Galactic Games too, space is running out. Just click the button below to visit the tournament registration page and click the “Register Now” button.