Wrist guards and rib pads are encouraged. Some goalie equipment is provided. Goalies must bring their own goalie stick, helmet and cleats.
When space is reduced, the game speeds up the and produces an environment where quicker decisions have to be made; ball handling skills are therefore amplified. Being in such an environment redefines being “open.” Box players learn to routinely catch passes that field players would be yelled at for throwing. The tight confines are less impacted by the size of the field and more impacted by the size of the goal. Small goals make all the action happen in tighter spaces.
Shooting accuracy and finishing ability are clearly a developmental advantage when learning how to finish on small (4x4) nets. By far, the most important concept taught in the sport of box lacrosse, which is a byproduct of small nets, is always striving to take high percentage shots which is most often attained by positioning the stick to the inside of the field. In box lacrosse, if a right handed player drives down the right wing he will almost never score, as his shooting angle (and passing angle) is reduced with every step. By positioning (looking at the goal) lefties on the right and righties on the left, players are able to attack from the wings to the middle both with the ball and while cutting.
Another way to look at this is to develop midfielders and defensemen to play like attackmen who usually play on their natural side. Every day in practice the attack get repetitions dodging and cutting to the middle of the field, while the midfielders are constantly repeating the same dodge down the alley dodges. The repertoire of an attackman’s dodges include inside out moves, split dodges, rollbacks, topside moves, underneath moves, pop outs or Z dodges, rocker moves, question mark moves as well as swim moves. Of course, midfielders can do any of these moves, but middies are almost always on the "wrong" side of the field where all they do is run into no angle with little recourse if their weak hand isn’t developed yet.
In box lacrosse there are no poles. This provides a significant advantage for the development of the offensive players because they can work on their moves and ball handling against a defense that doesn’t beat them up and take the ball away. Too many times attackmen are either over powered by poles or are discouraged by their coach from dodging because of a bad match up.
One of the staples of box lacrosse is the pick and roll both on and off the ball. It is the repetition of the pick and roll executed on the natural side of the players that teaches an extremely high level of reading the defense.
The ball is never out of play. Box lacrosse players get more repetitions.