When it comes to team ball-sports a good defence is
often the key to a successful game.
The key to a good defence is cooperation meaning that the team need to work together in an ordered fashion where everyone knows his/her role. This however, may be difficult in some situations for example during a counter attack.
When the team is not unified in one defensive unit,
defence is a very difficult matter.
As a base rule you might say that the team should strive towards a unified defence, because this is the easiest way to defend as well as the most efficient.
Defenders may be confronted with the following situations:
As said in the beginning the counter attack is the most difficult situation to handle as a defender since the players are often scattered and the defence in disorder. Because the team is not unified, this scenario requires more from each individual player.
The team should always strive in the direction of
a unified defence; therefore the first priority for every player is to
aim for the opponent closest to him/her. This is particularly important
for the player closest to the ball.
Why is this bad, you may ask?
So, primarily each player seeks up the opponent closest
to him or her. Then what?
In order to "push" the opponent away from
the goal you need to block his/her way to the goal and force him/her to
go around you. When defending this way you need to keep the opponent away
from the area straight in front of the goal. The further out the side
they are, the better. Thus, you "push" the opponent out to the
sides by positioning yourself (and your cross) a little more to the "inside"
of the court.
If you are defending a player not carrying the ball your objective is slightly different. In this scenario you should not only "push" them out to the sides but also keep an eye on the player with the ball in order to make it impossible for him/her to pass the player you are defending. So defending the players not carrying the ball is actually much more complicated.
A unified defence is when the whole team is gathered and each player defends one opponent.
When in a unified defence there are two objectives:
If both goals are achieved the opponent will be forced to shoot from a sharp angle leaving an easy task for the goalkeeper.
The first objective is very similar to the second one when defending a counter attack. It is important to keep the opponent away from the area in front of the goal. Correct positioning is the most efficient way to achieve this.
The major difference between the unified defence and the counter attack defence is that in a unified defence the game is played more side-to-side. It is very difficult for an attacker to play with "depth" against a unified defence.
One effective method for the unified defence to use, is to break the opponents' "pattern" by blocking the "side-to side" possibility and forcing them to attack single-handed. Using this method however can if misused be interpreted as zone defence, it is therefore important that the defenders still use man-to-man defence.
In some cases defence doesn't work as expected. How improbable it may seem it is possible that the opponents are just too fast :). In this case a 2-on-1 situation is not unusual.
As a defender there are some tricks you might use to stop a situation like this which in many ways differ from ordinary defending.
©2006, Penguin Intercrosse & Lacrosse Society YMCA-YWCA