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Tip of the Week #8

Posted Saturday, February 07, 2009 by Cliff Hedges
FAST BREAK DEF:  Unfortuanately, we cannot always play a settled game on defense, some fo the teams we will play will attempt to move the ball up the quickly AKA; Fast break.  This often happens on a man up situation. It is important to remain Calm, and try to slow down the attacker (girl with ball). As high pressure defense, forece the attacker to do something they do not want to do.  Surprise them and force a bad decision.  Here are some strategies:
  • Close the gap: Do not allow that attacker any more space then they already have.  When she starts to approach  the 12m, start to close the gap-make a move toward the attacker. Once you are a few yards away from her,,
  • Get your feet moving in the right direction- As we close the gap, do not just run at the attacker.  Take a few steps forward to close the gap and then get your feet moving in the opposite direction(the same direction as the attacker).  You must be ready to run with the attacker before you can turn and get in front of her. BE PHYSICAL, NO wussies here.
  • Get to the stick: Once you are in line with the attacker , FIGHT TO GET HER STICK. If you get to that attackers stick, you will slow her down and force her to make a move. Make her uncomfortable.  DO NOT let her have her strong hand and an easy route to goal.
  • Play the BODY: Do not check in this situation.  Your team is already down a player or two.  Focus on playing body defense and slowing the attacker down, so the rest of our defense can recover.  Good body defense will force the attack to make a bad decision.
Communication( here we go again) on Fast Break: During a fast break, defenders need to be loud, directive and cannot hesitate.  Defenders cannot be afraid to make a wrong decision. You will hear me say this a million times, "the only wrong decision is no decision".  Some more communication tips:
  • Field General:  The lowest defender should communicate the slide.  She can see everything.  It is her job to communicate loudly who should slide to the ball and when.  She must be directive and loud.  In most cases this will be Lindsey or Mackey.
  • Midfielders: The midfielders should hustle back as fast as they can.  They do not want to drift to the ball. Mids should focus on finding the open players, Try not to get tunel vission, just find some one.  The other low defenders need to communicate where the open player(s) are located.  Low defenders must direct the midfielders where to go.
  • Be Directive:  We are not looking to hurt anyones feelings here, but be directive in your communication. 
  • Communicate when you slide and where you are leaving: Man-down communication is the same as in a settled situation.  Communication is simple and essential, Just think of it as trying to get all of us the same page.
Six keys to defense:  We have talked a lot in the Tips of the week about Defense and I expect we will focus on this a lot.  If you play hoops, you should have this concept down by now.    An aggressive and well oiled defense is hard to beat.
  1. Don't Make it Easy: Put pressure on the attackers. Do not allow them to do as they please, take away time and space. Be Physical, we need to dictate the game on our defensive end.
  2. Get to the Stick: Get to the attackers Stick. This slows them down by forcing them to make a move or change direction. Off-Ball , the rules don't change.  DENY!  PLAY BIG!!!  Do not allow the attackers to curt through the 8m with their strong hand without being challenged.
  3. Slide early: Do not hesitate to slide early. It is ok to cheat a little, to "hedge" toward the ball, when you are the slide.  Anticiapte and communicate.  You cannot go wrong as long as you what?  COMMUNICATE.
  4. Be aggressive:  GO HARD AFTER GROUND BALLS, LOOK TO INTERCEPT, Back up the net, Pressure the attackers ALL OVER.  When they leave after playing South Hadley, I want them to remember it.
  5. Play Body: To play aggressively is not to play stupidly.  Make sure that your defense plays good BODY defense.  Never Sacrifice defensive positioning for a check(We need to really work on this concept)  Good body defense will force opponents to make mistakes, mistakes that we will take advantage of.
  6. Ummmm, Last one.  Communicate.  Communication has been overly emphasized throught out these tips of the week, and for a reason. Communication is everything.  Every player on our team has to constantly be talking, assessing and acting.  Defense can get hectic, especially in a high pressure defense, Communication is a must at all times.
If we have a break down, or a goal is scored agaist us, I want you to as a group always be looking to correct any mistake we may have made.  But remember we are a team, Constructive communication by you and your teammates is very important, we will hold each accountable to do their job and to do the best they can to make our team succusful.   We must work as one.

Have a nice weekend ladies, It's Almost time.....

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