How to Run the Motion Offense in Lacrosse


The basic 2-3-1 lacrosse motion offense features three attackmen in one triangle and three midfielders in another triangle. It is designed to maintain a balanced field, confuse defenders and create multiple options for dodging -- ballcarriers attacking the goal, looking to shoot -- and passing off of "V" cuts. It requires players who can pass accurately, catch the ball on the move and read the movements of their teammates.

2-3-1 Formation

  • The 2-3-1 motion offense -- also known as the 1-3-2 offense, when viewed from the attackmen perspective from behind the goal -- features two triangles. In the high triangle, one midfielder sets up in the crease and two midfielders are positioned out front, one to the left and the other to the right. The second triangle mirrors the first. Two attackers flank the goal out wide, one to each side. The third attacker is squarely behind the goal, deep enough to create good passing angles.

Basic Motions

  • Each triangle rotates, as if a string is connecting each of the three players. When one member of the triangle cuts through, the other two rotate in formation to maintain field balance. The midfielders run their rotation in front of the goal. The attackmen rotate around the goal from behind. The player rotation within the two triangles forces the defenders to move and creates space for ballcarriers to dodge their defender and attack the goal. The move also creates passing options if the shooting lane closes.

Running the Offense

  • Players pass the ball around the perimeter, looking for opportunities to attack the goal. The midfielder in front of the goal keeps moving, mirroring the ball to give the ballcarrier room to work. When the ball is reversed in a triangle, the triangle reverses its rotation. Players rotate when the ball is passed from one triangle to another. Both triangles rotate whenever a ballcarrier attacks the goal. So when a high midfielder dodges, the crease midfielder clears out. The side attackman on the ball side slides through the crease to the far post to create a passing option. The back attackman rotates to replace the side attackman and present a second passing target. This gives the midfielder three options: shoot, pass right or pass left. If either attackman receives a pass, he can shoot, carry the ball back behind the net, reverse the ball the attackman who rotated behind the net or pass the ball to a midfielder who rotated out high.

The 1-4-1 Variation

  • To create extra pressure in the crease, teams can start the rotation with one midfielder high and two in the crease area. The back triangle features one attackman out to each side and one behind the goal. In this variation, the two crease players move back and force and set picks for each other, looking to get free. They also rotate out to create passing options and create space for a ballcarrier to dodge a defender an attack the goal.

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