You’re at a fall lacrosse tournament. Half the players on your team haven’t been to practice this past week to refresh the motion offense. Half run the motion and the others run nowhere.

It’s a motion offense with zero motion.

As a coach, it can be one of the most frustrating things to see. Here are four ideas to put the motion back in the offense.

1. Call a timeout

See who’s tired. It takes a lot of energy to play the sport, and when you call something “motion,” the kids think conditioning and get all lazy on you. Perhaps you just need to rest some players, or perhaps it was just a momentary lapse in which they forgot the mechanics of the offense. Use this time to instruct the players on what “motion” really means to the offense.

2. Set a rule

Tell the players that every time someone gets the ball up top, on the right corner or behind the goal, he or she should drive to goal to start the motion rotation. If you want to set another rule of thumb — say, rotate each time an attack player passes up to the midfield or each time a midfielder passes to the attack — go for it. Give the players a few things to think about, and they will riff on that one rule you made up. This will get them in the motion system. Change the rule to switch things up after each timeout or after the quarter.

3. Set a pass limit

Have your players call a number from 0 to 5 each time they settle the ball on offense. That’s the number of passes they must execute before rotating. If they call 0, they rotate and look for options; 1 means one pass and go; 2 means pass, pass, drive and dump; and so on. This is a great way to keep it simple for your players when they are struggling with motion. Also, if they forget what number they are on, it doesn’t matters, because the drive initiates the rotations. Players must react at all times.

4. Utilize those who know

A great coach once told me that it doesn’t matter if your opponent knows your plays — it all comes down to who can execute. With that in mind, get your players who know the offense to start talking others through the motions. Communication on the field is not just for defense. There is nothing better than an offense where a player yells, “Cut for me,” and someone reacts to make it happen. If your motion stalls, find a player or two to adopt these leading roles. Communication and yelling at each other are two different things. We want communication, not chaos.

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