Around 75% of goals in lacrosse are scored because transition is involved.  It is a very large part of the sport and it is highly necessary to compete at high levels.  It can be a determining factor between a win or loss in a big game.

Why is Transition so Important in Lacrosse?

The transition game in lacrosse is one of the most important parts of the sport.  If you don’t have the ball you can’t score, and unless you have the best faceoff player out there you’ll be running transition throughout every game.

Turnovers can absolutely kill a team and a good majority of them come from bad passes on the clear and transition.  A transition leads to many opportunities for good open shots and an advantage in numbers. Also, as said before, a high percentage of goals scored are generated off of the transition play.  This happens for a few reasons, the main one being the numbers game. In lacrosse, you always want to attack the side the numbers favor that way you will have the extra guy. A good transition can set that up efficiently and force the defense to make a quick decision that can lead to a mistake. Facing a fluid and dangerous transitional offense is a nightmare for defenses because goals can rack up very quickly.

Furthermore, you can take advantage of a team on transition if they have low numbers and become fatigued. Also, it is helpful if you have a lot of speed or the opposing team is poorly substituting players. You can also manipulate the sub game by hooking with the midline or subbing strategically to get an uneven numbers situation. Subbing and possession of the ball are crucial for success and if you want to be able to get the ball from your defense to your offense you need to use these wisely during clears. If you can’t possess and sub well, then your defense will be run ragged and get scored on quite a bit.

Offensive Transitions in Lacrosse

On the transition, you want space and very quick ball movement.  More time favors defense every and second that goes by is another second for them to recover and get back in the paint.  With that in mind on the transition, you don’t always need that one more extra pass.  That gives the defense extra time to get back to even strength. Sometimes taking risks can pay off because you can’t waste time deciding. Plus, if you have a backup for a shot or an advantage in the numbers then risks aren’t that bad.

Defensive Transition in Lacrosse

The defense has to stop the ball and recover it, or at least slow down the offense enough to get a settled defensive stand. They can’t go too early or leave too late because the offense will be wide open with more space on the field. The timing in transitional defense is crucial. Then they have to recover, and their needs to be a slide made to who the ball carrier passed to.  All of this quick rapid action makes it hard on the defense being a man down or waiting for the sub to come down. As a defender trailing you want to get in the hole and then find a man.  You want to guard crease inside out and always have sticks up to block any passes through the paint.  Once you reach the crease, you must work into the defensive slide package and communication is the easiest way to find your place.

If you want to become an elite player and team you must establish a good transition game.  On both sides of the ball from goalie on up to the attackmen, the whole team should be ready for the change of possession and the transition coming.  A great transition team can run a team into the ground wearing them out trying to chase after and recover from great ball movement up the field.  Always remember the keys of transition you want space and fast ball movement!