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Forcing Play Inside on Defense

Karl:  In our last communication I mentioned the fact that you would be forcing play toward your stronger players. What you would also be doing is ‘Disrupting Habitual Play’. Because many coaches practice the tactic of taking the ball down the wings day in and day out (spread out the defense). Wing-players who constantly take the ball down the line, time after time, in both practice/games will eventually create a personal habit just like playing with ones strong foot. It is up to your players to figure out what habits the opponent has and force them to do the opposite like forcing them to play with their weak foot. It is the same idea that you would be applying in this case. You noticed their play was always going down the wing and you would have had t hem do something that they have probably not practiced by forcing them to go inside. Brilliant!!!

Coach:   Now that is one great observation!!

Karl: Thank You. I pride myself in making great observations

Coach: Although I don’t do this, I do notice it in ALL the practices of the other coaches. You’re right, taking it inside especially with a different foot will definitely help disrupt the play. If we can do this, and it will be hard because I have so many inexperienced players and the other team is so strong, I’m convinced we’ll make it a lot more competitive. 

Karl: You won’t know until you give it a try. But, don’t expect overnight results! Just like teaching ball handling skills took patience and time. So, also, will it take many practices and lots of time for your players to master the tactic of forcing play to the inside.

Coach: In addition, I tried a different lineup last weekend, moved some girls into different roles, and I do think I’ve found one on the left side that can do just what we described. She completely turned the plays into the field, and suddenly our defense on that side of the field looked effortless with basically no good chances. If I can find that player on the right, and I have a hunch who I’m going to try this week, the pieces just might be coming together. But they’re so strong, no amount of strategy may ultimately help. But we’ll do everything we can as we always do. 

Karl: The ideal situation would be for your players to already be able to play defensively in all parts of the field. Since this is not the case I suggest working in pairs to create a ‘pinch-maneuver’ around the Dribbler. D1 places herself on the touchline side of the ball forcing play inside of the field. D2 moves into a 1st Defender position inside to create the ‘pinching’ action. A numbers-up around the ball (1v2) should favor your players and stop the attacker’s advancement. Again, this must be practiced many times before you can expect success. So for now, All you can do is All you can do and All you can do is going to be enough.

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