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Zone Defense

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					                           Zone Defense
                       Learn it. Play it. Love it.

Why play a Zone Defense?
     - “If they don’t score, we cannot loose!”
     - Teamwork. Everyone is responsible and accountable.
     - It’s a system strong in layers
     - Keeps the field balance and organized for transition to attack
     - Allows for easier positional changes

Zone Defense – What is it?
     - Moving together as a unit or entire team to cover and protect
       dangerous space while denying opponents access to the ball
       within this protected space.
     - In other words, it’s like zone defense in basketball. Each girl
       covers the ball when it is passed in her area, and passes off
       this coverage when the ball goes to another area. Each girl
       marks the passing zone of the opponents in front. If one girl
       is on the ball, the other girls are defending their space in the
       zone. Goalkeepers always focus on the BALL.

Characteristics of Zone Defense:
     - Noticeable and structured formation
     - Intentful pressure on the Ball Carrier (patient or aggressive)
        to force the mistake
     - Dangerous Space and Passing Lanes are denied
     - Intense Communication
     - Opponents play is slowed, delayed or destroyed
     - Everyone forces up and out of the defense
     - Key Focus on Covering Spaces Offensively and Defensively
     - A small disciplined and unified group can hold off anything
     - Defenders are less likely to dribble out of the defense, as
        there are more passing options waiting for them outside.
     - 5 Finger Rule: In transition, when we loose the ball, 1 girl
        takes ball and 4 others fall into immediate zone alignment to
        regain possession in the most effective way

For Zone Defense to Work, Each Player Must:
     - Have solid defensive skills
     - Have a good “sense” of defense (passive vs. aggressive)
     - Understand the team language, goal and philosophy
     - Be a good decision maker. Multi-task and know where do we
       want the ball to go
     - Move! – No room for ball watchers here!

Communication in Zone Defense:
    - Simple
    - Consistent
    - Information vs. Action Statements
    - Everyone knows and uses it!!!
    - Sample Communication Statements for a Zone Defense:
         o MARK = deny your girl and be tight on her
         o DROP = move deeper in a called direction
         o STEP UP = close the space between you and the ball
            or attacker
         o PRESSURE = get on the ball (girl with it)
         o FORCE L/R/O = pressure the ball in the called
            direction
         o HOLD = hold the space your in, or delay the ball
            (STAY)
         o STEP L/R = Move in that direction to deny passing
            lanes
         o BRING HER = pressure the ball to a double team
         o MINE = I have ball
         o GET IN A HOLE = Get into the zone!
         o PATIENCE = channel or stay with the girl with the ball
            and do not commit
         o PRESS UP – Pressure the girl in your area with your
            body

Things to Think About in a Zone:
     - Is there pressure on the ball? Should that pressure be me?
         Which direction do I force?
     - Where can the ball go? What are her passing options? Can I
         take away that option by dropping back or stepping up?
     - If the dangerous passing options are covered, what space
         can I cover or protect?
     - What helpful instructions or information can I share with my
         teammates in front of me?
     - What instructions or information am I hearing from behind
       me?
     - When I come up with the ball, where should I first attack?
       What is open? How can I support my teammate if she comes
       up with the ball? Who is my first passing option? Where on
       the field can I become the best option?
     - Breathing Time = Recalculating Time

How a Zone Can Fail (Things NOT to do):
     - Ball Watching – if you watch the ball, you loose awareness
       of other dangers (players).
     - Play Watching – Don’t watch everyone else do the work –
       get someplace to help!
     - Not Communicating – 1 non-talker can ruin a play. Don’t let
       that be you.
     - Droppers or Supreme Shadowers – They just keep giving
       space to attackers or watchers who retreat. You must play
       defense aggressively with your head in control. Avoid death
       by dropping …. A goal.
     - Full-on Marking – Don’t be focused on one girl. Usually if
       your focused on one girl you loose focus on the ball, passing
       options and who is most dangerous. Focus on the space you
       are covering. If attackers switch, switch with another
       defender to avoid a hole in your zone.

How to Carry Out Zone Defense on the Field:
     - Keep 10-12 Yards between you and the next “layer”
     - Always be in a hole
     - Depending on where you are on the field, not all 11 players
        have to be in full defensive formation. Sometimes your
        formation is to prepare for transition. Here are some
        guidelines:
           o If it’s deep on our attacking side of the field, forwards
              can be the first layer of the zone.
           o As the ball moves towards our defense, not all
              forwards have to be in the first layer of the zone. Some
              may sit back (in good position for a counter attack) as
              outlets for an interception.
           o Hits coming into our defensive circle (Our “House”), we
              cannot have all 11 of our girls inside…that’s 22 feet
         that can potentially cause a corner, something we don’t
         want. Let the mids and backs cover this situation. With
         a systemic and purposeful zone, all areas can be
         covered and the defenders have definite outlets when
         they come up with the ball.
-   Always communicate. Don’t stand Silent!
-   Be aware of space at all times!
-   Goalkeepers always take and watch Ball.
-   Never stop thinking!

				
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posted:3/26/2013
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