The press as a way to defend and opposition attack in hockey has been around now for a long time, and ever since the removal of the off-side rule has become even more a vital piece of any coach and teams tactic's and strategy. However in recent years we have seen it shift from simply a defensive tactic or strategy to both a attacking and defensive tactic or strategy. An if you watched the most recent European Field Hockey Championships, I think the great Alyson Annan Coach of the Netherland's may have just moved pressing to the next level again. So what are the different types of basic presses in field hockey well there is- 1. Full Press 2. Half field press 3. 3/4 Field press Each of these has its advantages and its disadvantages, and the good teams and coaches use different combinations of these basic presses, based on what the opposition might be doing. So what do I feel are three advantages and disadvantages of each of these basic presses. Full Press: Advantages - You can control the hole field and shut down the space out of the oppositions defence. - You can force your opposition into the part of the field which maximises your chances to force a turnover. - You can apply pressure to the full-backs forcing them to make a mistake on there 16 yard hits causing a turnover. Full Press: Disadvantages - It stretches your team opening up potential gaps across the field. - If there is no communication from the lines behind the lines in front will potentially fail to pick up the movement of the opposition play and the balls. - If the opposition can get in behind your front line with a good quick pass then the press will break down and you become exposed to the fast break. _________________________________________________________________________________ Half Press Advantages - You close down the space in a much tighter way in your defensive half of the field. - Your teams lines are much closer together thus better for communication and making sure that all lines and space are covered. - You can see the oppositions defensive half in-front of you and judge the potential openings for a fast break should you force a turnover. Half Press Disadvantages - If the front line of the half court press breaks down or moves to attack the ball to early this will more often than not force a break down of your team structure. - It doesn't put any pressure on your opposition in there defensive half allowing them time to get control of the ball and set up there attacking play. - It can set a negative tone for the game for your team which can be hard to break even when you successfully force a turnover. _________________________________________________________________________________ 3/4 Field Press Advantages - The 3/4 press gives you the advantage of still being able to see the opposition area in front of you. - This gives you the time and the change to intercept any full-back 16 yard hits that are hit straight up the field. - It gives the front lines of the press the flexibility to pivot around and force the opposition into the areas of the field you want them to go into which maximise the chances of a turnover. 3/4 Field Press Disadvantages - Again it stretches your team and means you may not be able to close the space down across the hole field. - It allows the opposition the ability to get our of there defensive 25 without any real pressure on them, and allows them the room to switch the play. - If the front line break down then it will expose you to a fast break. _________________________________________________________________________________ Pressing like any other tactic or strategy used has its draw-backs and its risks, so as a Hockey Coach what do I think is the best pressing approach, well I think you need to have a combination of everything to be successful. You need to be able to read what your opposition is doing where their weaknesses are and then apply a press that best suits that. I personally use a very very aggressive press which is designed to force the play, force the opposition, cause confusion in the opposition and lead to turn-over after turn-over and eventually the entire break down of the oppositions structure. Now this is what most of my teams use the majority of the time- Now this is like I say very aggressive, and its not something that every single team could execute as it requires two key things- 1. High level of fitness 2. High level of skill, patience and procision The idea with this press is that you are happy to let the defence have the back pass that is fine, and the front line or up-side down mushroom cap as it has been coined by a couple of my teams, is there two place doubt in the mind of the defence and jump on anything shaky or poorly executed from the opposition. As I always say as I take my teams through this, this press is high risk yes, but there is massively high reward if you get it right. Over the time I have been using this I have watched teams- - Hit the ball over the side-lines and face our attack rather than try to break it up. - Hit the ball over the back-line and face a penalty corner again rather than try to break out of it. I have on countless occasions watched opposition defence lose there confidence and change there minds mid hit, and my teams on many occasions have pinned the opposition right back into there defensive 25. With this press that is when as a Coach you know it is really working. An while I cant lay claim to come up with this press in its original form, that rest with a good friend of mine and Coach from Victoria Mitch Dickin, I can say that I have further developed and tweaked it and continue to do so. I do believe its the next Quantum leap in field hockey pressing at International level, and hope one day I will be able to put it to work at that level.