The real trick here is to find a good guess for the transition state structure. The closer you are, the better. It is often difficult to guess these structures. One way to obtain a good guess is to built an approximate TS and to perform a constrained minimization by freezing internal coordinates that change most during the reaction. Alternatively, you can generate several structures intermediate to reactants and products, and compute the energy at each point. The maximum energy structure is usually a good guess for the true TS.

After obtaining a reasonable initial guess for the TS structure you
have to perform a vibrational analysis (or LES calculation for a large
molecule) and to identify the index of the transition vector to follow
during the optimization. Ideally, this is a vector with a negative
eigenvalue, or "imaginary" frequency. The best way to find the right
vector is to use some graphical interface to visualize vibrations. For
a reasonable guess structure there should be one vibration that
resembles the reaction under study. Remember that `statpt` uses a
different ordering of eigenvalues as compared to the `aoforce`
output--six (five) zero eigenvalues are shifted to the end.

There is an important thing to remember at this point. Even such sophisticated optimization methods like TRIM will not replace your own chemical intuition about where transition states may be located. If you need to restart your run, do so with the coordinates which have the smallest RMS gradient. Note that the energy does not have necessarily to decrease in a transition state search (as opposed to minimizations). It is sometimes necessary to do restart several times (including a recomputation of the Hessian) before the saddle point can be located.

Assuming you do find the TS, it is always a good idea to recompute the
Hessian at this structure. It is fairly common, especially when using
symmetry, that at your ``TS'' there is a second imaginary frequency.
This means that you have not found the correct TS. The proper
procedure is to distort the structure along the ``extra'' imaginary
normal mode using the tool `screwer` (see Section 1.5). Very
often such a distortion requires also lowering the point group
symmetry. The distortion must be large enough, otherwise the next run
will come back to the invalid structure.