When examining a lacrosse goal, it can be tough to get an accurate gauge of its exact size, especially if you’re looking at it from afar. Even when you’re up close, it can still be rather difficult to pinpoint its specific dimensions.
The exact dimensions of a standard sized field lacrosse goal and a standard sized box lacrosse goal has been input into the table below.
|Type of Goal||Standard Height||Standard Width||Standard Length||Standard Weight|
|Field Lacrosse Goal||6′||6′||7′||67 – 114 lbs|
|Box Lacrosse Goal||4′||4′||4′||26 – 65 lbs|
As shown in the table, there’s a noticeable difference in size between field lacrosse goals and box lacrosse goals. There are several prominent reasons as to why this is, which will be analyzed further in the sections below.
Why Field Lacrosse Goals are 6′ x 6′ x 7′
A regulation sized lacrosse goal is not nearly as large as a soccer goal, but it’s also not as small as a hockey goal. It lies somewhere in between. This begs the question, “Why are field lacrosse goals as big as they are?”
Promotes A Lot of Scoring… But Not Too Much
The sport of lacrosse is built around a high degree of scoring. Most lacrosse teams score around ten goals per game on average, give or take. At this rate, goals are scored every couple of plays or so.
In the eyes of the lacrosse rules committee, this is the perfect amount of scoring. There are enough goals being scored to keep the audience entertained, but not enough to take away from the value of witnessing the ball successfully go into the back of the net. With a sport like basketball, shots are made so frequently that it fails to spark a visceral feeling of elation, like that of seeing a touchdown or a home run.
All of this talk of scoring directly relates to the predetermined size of field lacrosse goals. Ultimately, the bigger the goal is, the more scoring there will be. It’s considerably easier for offensive players to put the ball in the back of the net when they have a lot more open space on the goal available to them.
The size of the goal is just big enough to allow offenses to score consistently, but not all the time.
Shooters have to go up against constant harassment from on-ball defenders. They also have to sneak the ball past the goalie, which is not as easy of a task as it would seem. With a goalie standing in front of the 6′ by 6′ cage, shooters only have a few tiny windows where they’re able to fit the ball. Even then, the ball has to be shot at a high velocity to beat the reflexes of the goalie.
If the dimensions of field lacrosse goals were slightly larger, offensive players would have too easy a time scoring. On the other hand, the rate of scoring would dwindle significantly if the dimensions of field lacrosse goals were reduced. The 6′ x 6′ x 7′ dimensions of field lacrosse goals is the ideal construction because it takes the best of both worlds.
Allows Goalies to Defend the Goal While Standing, Rather than Crouching
Aside from scoring frequency, the dimensions of the goal also grant goalies’ the ability to stand comfortably when protecting the goal. This is important because it grants the goalie a greater degree of mobility to venture out of the crease if necessary.
The majority of lacrosse players overlook the crucial role that goalies play in the clearing effort. Typically, when there’s a turnover or a save, the goalie must travel out of the crease to help deliver the ball to the other side of the field. Since they’re already in the standing position, transitioning in and out of the crease is rather painless. If the goalies were forced to crouch due to a smaller sized goal, this process wouldn’t be so easy.
Also, goalies occasionally move outside the crease to secure possession of a loose ball. These plays may not seem significant, but every possession counts in lacrosse. Such plays would be nonexistent if goalies were forced into the crouching position.
Why Box Lacrosse Goals are 4′ x 4′ x 4′
In contrast to field lacrosse goals, box lacrosse goals have much smaller dimensions. The 4′ x 4′ frame of a standard box lacrosse goal is actually smaller than the 6′ x 4′ of a standard hockey goal (source).
Increases Shooting Difficulty to Negate Effects of Smaller Playing Area
Box lacrosse, largely considered the indoor version of the sport, is different from field lacrosse in many ways. The size of the box lacrosse goal reflects these changes.
One prominent difference between box lacrosse and field lacrosse is that the size of the playing area is significantly reduced. Consequently, players are seemingly always within striking distance of the goal. It doesn’t take much effort to get a shot on cage.
Since players are always within a close vicinity to the goal, the regulation size of box lacrosse goals have been reduced to counteract the effects of a smaller playing area. This way, offenses don’t score every time they touch the ball. With less open net exposed to them, offensive players have to work much harder to get off a high percentage shot.
This ultimately makes the game far more interesting, since players are forced to use their tact and skill to manipulate defenses and squeeze the ball through tight windows. It forces teams to focus on execution of offensive strategy above all else, which is what fans want to see.
If the dimensions of field lacrosse goals were applied to box lacrosse goals, offenses would be scoring virtually every play. This would take away from the appeal of the game, as the sport would be less about skill and more about which team can secure the most possessions.
A large part of what makes scoring goals in box lacrosse so special is the degree of difficulty. If it were easy to score goals in box lacrosse, I doubt fans would cheer nearly as much as they do.
Neutralizes Scoring Effects of a Greater Number of Possessions
Furthermore, box lacrosse games have more total possessions per game compared to field lacrosse games on average. Since the playing area is considerably smaller, possession shifts between teams on a much more frequent basis. More possessions equates to more scoring opportunities, leading to more goals.
Plus, the playing area is completely enclosed by boards, so the ball always remains in play, allowing for additional scoring opportunities off of unsettled situations.
Members of the box lacrosse community do not want to see games where there’s upwards of thirty to forty goals. At that rate, there would be a goal practically ever possession! Rather, it’s in the best interest of the box lacrosse rules committee to maintain team scoring between ten to twenty goals per outing. This way, there’s still a sufficient amount of scoring, but not to the point where it’s too much.
To accomplish this mission, it was decided that the dimensions of the box lacrosse goal should be reduced to a 4′ by 4′ frame. Thus far, these dimensions have worked out beautifully for box lacrosse. Players do encounter difficulty when trying to score, but they’re still able to put the ball in the back of the net periodically.
Do All Lacrosse Goals Meet These Size Regulations?
Generally, lacrosse goals used for formal lacrosse events have to meet these specific size dimensions to adhere to lacrosse guidelines. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule.
For example, the box lacrosse goals utilized for the National Lacrosse League (NLL) are slightly bigger than the traditional box lacrosse goal. Where traditional box lacrosse goals feature a 4′ x 4′ frame, the NLL box lacrosse goals are 4′ 9″ wide and 4′ tall (source). This may not seem like a substantial difference, but this opens up scoring tremendously, particularly for these lacrosse professionals.
In addition, there are a variety of sizes available for practice lacrosse goals that do not necessarily fit the formal size regulations. For example, there are practice lacrosse goals that feature a 4′ x 4.5′ frame or a 3′ x 3′ frame (source). Although these are rarely, if ever, used during real lacrosse games, they are a solid option for shooting around in your own backyard.
Are There Any Smaller Lacrosse Goals that are Easily Transportable?
Even though there are smaller sized lacrosse goals available for sale, this doesn’t necessarily make them easily transportable. Trying to fit a heavy, metal cage into a trunk is definitely not easy if it lacks folding capabilities.
Lacrosse companies have addressed this problem by designing lacrosse goals that are able to fold in on themselves. This way, the lacrosse goal doesn’t take up such a high volume of space when compared to its normal, unfolded state. Surprisingly, it’s nearly impossible for a powerful shot to knock one of these goals back into its folded state once it has been locked into its practice ready position.
There are even practice lacrosse cages available that are not constructed from metal pipes. Although these lacrosse goals are less sturdy relative to your average metal lacrosse cage, they are a viable alternative for when you want to set up a makeshift practice ground on the go.
I’ve actually purchased one of these makeshift goals myself and I must say that they serve their job well. Over a couple of summer vacations, I brought one of these makeshift goals with me and I was able to effortlessly fit in a few practice sessions. At first, I thought it would be difficult to set up and break down this makeshift goal, but the process went extremely smooth.
In short, there are numerous options when it comes to transportable goals. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which type of transportable goal, metal or non-metal, best suits your purposes.