The following post is excerpted from U.S. Women's National Team and Georgetown University coach Ricky Fried's presentation at the 2014 US Lacrosse Convention.

What’s the difference between riding and re-defending?

Riding is a systematic approach to re-defending. Re-defending is a freelance ride, if you will. “We’re just trying to stop the ball. Everybody swarm ball side,” without any real rhyme or reason as to who goes where and why they go there.

Riding is the only thing you do on the field where all 12 players are engaged at the same time and each has an impact on what you’re trying to do. If one person doesn’t do her job, the ride falls apart.

Don’t make your ride about getting the ball back. The purpose of the ride is to make your opponent work as hard as possible to clear the ball. If you can do that, it wears the other team down physically and mentally, and eventually they break down and crack. While we have a tremendous amount of talent and athleticism on the U.S. team, what separates us is our team component, the buy-in from players to work as hard as they can for each other.

Many of the goals we give up are fast-break goals, because teams might be able to break the ride for a period of time. You have to be willing to give up certain things to get certain things. Giving up one or two easy goals to get 10 to 12 possessions for your team because they throw it away or break down, to me, is worth it.

Our ride is not, “Get out, go pick up a girl and swarm the ball.” Your players are not picking up a mark. Also, we only double-team. There’s not one instance where you’ll see us triple-team the ball.

Some key questions to consider:

  • Do you want to play their goalie?
  • Do you want your goalie out of the crease?
  • Where do you want to force the ball?
  • What level of pressure do you want to have

Having trouble getting your team to become cohesive? If you can teach them the ride, it works wonders in getting them to become a team.

Over to you. Does your youth or high school lacrosse team use a ride? How have you successfully gotten buy-in from your players to commit to the ride? Let us know in the comments section.

US Lacrosse Fan Fest

Watch Ricky Fried and the U.S. Women's National Team's demo session at US Lacrosse Fan Fest, Saturday, Jan. 24 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at the US Lacrosse Convention in Baltimore. Admission starts as low as $5.

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