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Tips For the Defense

Positioning

  • Don't rush an attack man after he has caught the ball. If he is receiving a long pass and you are sure you can reach him before the ball, go after him, checking his stick and hitting him with your body.
  • As a pass is made to the man you are playing, move out to cover him as the ball is moving to him, so that you are in position as he catches it. Don't wait until he has caught the ball, and then move out on him.
  • Never take a step into a man while playing him on defense.
  • When your man hasn't got the ball, always play slightly to the ball side of him, so that you gain a step as he cuts toward the ball. If he cuts away from the ball, the pass must go over your head which leaves you in good position to intercept or check.
  • When your man hasn't got the ball, stand sideways to the man and ball. You must use split vision watching both man and ball.
  • If a man leaves to back up on a dodge, the whole defense slides a man, leaving the man farthest from the ball open.
  • Only in extreme cases, should the defense man on the crease leave to back up. Example: To stop a play that would end up in a score.
  • Shuffle your feet! Never cross your feet while playing an attack man unless you are forced to run to keep up with him.
  • After the man you are playing throws a ball, step back two steps quickly and be ready for a cut. Also always look in the direction of the ball as you drop off. Don't turn your back on the ball.
  • If a man dodges you, keep after him. You should catch him as your backer comes in from the front
  • If the ball is rolling toward the midfield line, NEVER ALLOW your attack man to beat you to the ball. Be alert, use your stick to goose the ball to teammate. Don't let the attack man clamp your stick or lift up so ball goes under and through. Remember, if the ball is 5 yards away or less you can use your body for position. Don't hit from the rear and don't go offside.
  • When playing one on one, break down in an athletic stance keeping your hips between your man and the goal.
  • Know your opponents strengths and take them away. Force the weak hand.


Communication

  • Communication is the key to good defense — who has the ball, who has the slide, etc. Function as one unit!
  • When you slide, do it under control. Slide body on body.
  • There must be plenty of talk on defense, this is important. The following are the most important examples:
  • The man on each side of the ball must let the man on the ball know if he is-backed up.
  • If a man leaves to back up he must let the defense know he is leaving, so that they may shift.
  • The man playing the ball must holler, "I've got-the ball".
  • If a man cuts, the defenseman playing him should holler "man cutting" so that he alerts the rest of the defense for a possible switch.
  • If a switch is necessary, both men call "SWITCH". If you switch, STAY WITH THAT MAN until your team gets the ball or you have to switch again.


Passing and Ground Balls

  • Ground balls win games!
  • Use the proper technique — keep your body low to the ground and in between the ball and your opponent, keep your hand nearest the butt end of your stick down, explode through the ball, and immediately cradle and tuck your stick.
  • Look to pass right away or run away from pressure
  • Go for loose balls passionately and with attitude — start the offense!
  • Never throw a ball just to get rid of it.
  • Always scoop a loose ball. Never draw it. If there is a crowd, go through and either kick it or scoop it up.
  • Never pass a ball across in front of your goal.
  • If you are after a loose ball, but your attack man is ahead of you, press him hard if you cannot come up with the ball, but don't give him the opportunity to go around you.


Checking

  • When you check, make your check short and hard, making your check across the man's forearm and following through with your body. Never raise your stick high to check.
  • As the man you are playing starts a pass, check across his arms, but don't step in.
  • Once the attack man has the ball, worry him plenty by poke checking, etc., don't give much chance to look over his field, make him worry about you. Don't force or rush him however. There is a big difference between worrying a man and forcing or rushing him. Make the attack make the first move.
  • When not poking at the man with ball, keep your stick a little above the height of your attack man's shoulder. Don't ever carry it at your side, KEEP YOUR STICK UP!


Crease Play

  • If the ball is out front, and your man is behind the goal, play on the pipe of the cage on the side of the goal your man is on.
  • If the ball is behind the goal and your man is behind but without the ball, go behind with him.
  • Never let an attack man clamp your stick. If you are on the crease on a screen shot, stop it or catch it, if you can't do either then move so that your goalie can see it.


Clearing

  • When clearing the ball, as you catch the ball, circle away from your stick side if you are moving in to receive the pass.
  • Once the other team has cleared the ball, all defense men must drop in fast, RUN HARD --THIS IS ONE TIME YOU CANNOT LOAF.
  • On clears, make all passes sharp, away from the (attack man) and, as a general rule, to the nearest open man.
  • On a clear, when making a pass to a man who is coming in to meet the ball throw at his face, so that he catches the ball in front of him, making it hard for a (attack man) to check him.


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