The 10 man ride is an aggressive defensive scheme in lacrosse that is utilized across different levels of the sport. This is what you need to know about it.
10 Man Ride: What, Why & How
What Is a 10 Man Ride?
The 10 man ride is a form of zone ride that puts pressure on a clearing team with the goal of making riding incredibly difficult by using the goalie as a 10th defender. The use of the goalie typically means that the net is left open, making the 10 man an extremely high risk, high reward strategy.
Why Would a Team Use One?
There are several reasons why a team may employ a 10 man. The primary motivation would be to create turnovers. When a team struggles to slow a team down with a traditional ride, a 10 man may add the necessary pressure.
A 10 man ride takes a lot of time to teach and even more time to perfect, so it’s typically only employed as a last resort. For example, Michigan struggled in 2019 to win faceoffs because of injury. Instead of trying to win faceoffs, the team worked on its 10 man to create turnovers and earn back lost possessions from the faceoff.
No matter what reason you have for employing a 10 man, be aware of the time and effort it will take.
How Does It Work?
Much like a half-court trap in basketball, each player on the field has a zone. The zones overlap, and defenders will try to funnel players in between zones where they can be trapped. The more difficult it is for the opposing team to clear the ball, the longer it will take to clear, and the higher the chances are that the clearing team will receive a failure to advance.
Additionally, the most common way to beat the 10 man ride is with longer passes with lower success rates, which is where additional turnovers are created. The use of a goalie as a 10th defender allows more ground to be covered, creating less space for offensive players to operate.
The major risk is that the goal is empty and teams can take long attempts at the empty cage. Smart teams will take shots at the net while backing up that shot, allowing what is essentially a free clear (assuming the officials understand that these are actual shots and not errant passes).
Above is a visual representation of a 10 man ride – explaining it via text doesn’t do it justice.