We have traditionally called half field settled offense versus settled defense 6 on 6 lacrosse, but I will challenge you to re-think that 6 on 6 lacrosse actually does not exist. In order to score in settled offense versus settled defense, someone has to get beat on the defensive side.
This may occur when a defenseman trails a cutter that leaves him open for an easy catch and shoot off a feed. This may occur when a defenseman gets beat off a dodge and the slide comes to late, or, the slide is timely but the the ball is dumped down to the offensive player where the slide came from because a second slide was too slow.
In all of these scenarios, at least one defender has been taken out of the equation, creating for a brief moment 6 on 5 or 6 on 4 opportunities for the offense to score off their advantage. Thus, this really expands our thought process as to our traditional mindset that number advantages only occur in transition and with penalties.
From a coaching perspective, it already made sense to adopt the transition focused training models of programs like Brown and Tufts when we considered that more than 60% of goals in lacrosse are scored in unsettled transition. It makes even more sense to focus on unsettled transition considering now that goals scored in settled half field lacrosse occur in transition scenarios that briefly create a numbers advantage.
Having transition focused practices does not risk priming a team to live and die by the run and gun, but instead trains the offense to take advantage of holes in the defense created by transition or athletically during settled half field play. Likewise, it trains the defense to plug holes, fill, and react when they find themselves at a disadvantage.
Dr. Roger Welton was a 4 year starter for Montclair State University and was selected as a First Team All Knickerbocker Conference Midfielder in 1995, 1996. He is the founder of the Viera-Suntree Lacrosse Club and Space Coast Elite Lacrosse Club in Brevard County, Florida.