The Zonal Defence

Discussion in 'Articles' started by steve, May 21, 2006.

  1. steve

    steve Founder/Owner
    FHF Administrator

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2006
    Messages:
    2,447
    Likes Received:
    448
    Location:
    Malta
    Stick/s:
    Ritual Velocity 95
    Article by Greg Nicol (South Africa)

    A game of hockey can be separated into 2 phases, Firstly when your team has possession, and secondly when the opposition has possession. To be a successful team you must be able to control the game in both phases. When the opposition have the ball the objective is to win the ball back without allowing them to create goal-scoring opportunities. In the past the method of defence used, was assigning players to an opposition number in that particular area of the field, who they were then to mark as tightly as possible. This is "man-to man" marking and requires a lot of pointless running, and the problem arises when a man is beaten by his opposing number, and now there is no-one to meet the ball carrier as everyone else is marking. These situations are always arising and when a player steps off his man to meet, there is now an easy passing option available to the ball carrier, i.e.: the free man.

    The trend in modern hockey is to employ a zonal system of defence. This system is generally used when you have the opposition in their own half, and preferably on one of the sides of the field. E.g.: 16 yard hit.

    In employing a zonal system, the entire defensive team aligns itself according to where the ball is in relation to the most dangerous pass, which could be available to the opposition. Normally this would be a pass directly into the middle of the field, which allows the opposition to then dictate the play. The zonal system should allow the opposition a square or backwards pass, but once this pass has been made the defence should quickly realign them selves with the new dangerous pass options available to the opposition. Is crucial that all 10 defensive players are away of their roles at all times, as any gap in the "wall" could have disastrous consequences.

    If this system is done correctly, the defending team can push forward as a unit with little concern as to the opposition strikers movements behind them, as a ball should not be able to find its way through.

    The biggest key to a successful zonal system is communication, and this starts with the keeper. The players behind call the players in front into the correct lines. The centre back and centre midfield are pivotal roles in this communication system. The players up front are under the obligation to place the ball carrier under immense pressure, thus resulting in an ineffective or unsuccessful pass. If these players up front try to actually win the ball in a tackle, they will more than likely give away a free hit, and the whole process must start again, whereas if the ball carrier is made to pass the ball under pressure, there is a strong likelihood that it will be intercepted by the midfield who are waiting behind.

    From here the counter attack can be sprung. This system brings about opportunities for many attacks, as you win the ball in positions higher up in the field. The opposition will also be stretched defensively as they try to find a way out of the "press".

    The key to a successful side is to attack using the full pitch and defend in as small a space as possible. By closing the oppositions' space when they are in possession, closes down the angles and options they have available to them. If they try to carry the ball out of this position, it is important that we try to channel the ball carrier onto a second defenders stick to make the tackle. If the first defender dives in, it is very likely that the ball carrier will win the hit and thus obtain the space and time he was looking for. It is crucial that both defenders know that they are looking for this double defence and work accordingly.

    Reasons for the Zonal Defence:

    1. To place the opposition in areas of the pitch with very few options
    2. Be able to win the ball higher in the pitch
    3. Avoid the defenders chasing needlessly after opposition forwards.

    A coach once told me that by using a small amount of mental energy, you save yourself a huge amount of physical energy. I.e.: More you think the less you have to run, thus saving yourself energy for when it is actually needed.

    The system does take time to perfect, and the keys are to communicate well, and react quickly to situations. I call this an "Allplay", as all 11 players are involved, and if 1 person is not aware or fails in his role then the opposition can find a way out of the pressurised situation. There is no place for man-to-man marking in this system, except if the attackers near the defensive 25-yard line. Here a lot of teams will now change to the man-to-man system, as before communication is the critical part of the equation to ensure a successful transition.

    Before implementing these systems in a game it is essential that all players are comfortable in their roles and it is also wise to run through the various scenarios on a coaching board, to drive the points home.

    1. Key issues to remember:
    2. 11 player defence with all being aware of their specific roles
    3. Pressure from the players up front
    4. Alignment from the players behind
    5. Stepping up of the players behind to make a tackle or intercept a pass
    6. Communication
     
  2. Magpie

    Magpie Administrator
    FHF Administrator

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2006
    Messages:
    4,718
    Likes Received:
    27
    Location:
    Purga, QLD
    Does anybody have drills that can be used to coach zonal defence (thanks for the article Steve)?
     
  3. nerd_is_the_word

    nerd_is_the_word FHF All Time Great

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2006
    Messages:
    2,222
    Likes Received:
    88
    Location:
    Queensland, AUS
    one that i kind of made up myself for use with older kids and even adult teams that works on zonal defence and also communtication is to mark out a square (4 m x 4 m is good) and divide it up into smaller squares and possibly even sum rectangles or L shapes or wateva you want. make about 6 or 7 'zones' and put one defender in each zone, then put 3 or 4 (or more depending on how many people you have in the group) 'attackers' in the square (preferably with colored bibs or something on) the defenders can only stand in their zone were as the attackers can run were ever they like. as a coach then i have a small football or a tennis ball that i try to throw to the players from outside the square. If done properly the drill works on gettin the kids cutting off lines that i could throw down (because they cant jsut spot mark the attackers) and communicating to each other so that even though the attackers cant really be spot marked by one player the team can still stop them getting the ball. You need to have a talk with your defenders first so they all know what is going on though or else it can just be shambles
     
  4. garli

    garli FHF Staff

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2006
    Messages:
    8,915
    Likes Received:
    80
    Location:
    Santa Barbara
    We do one similar to that. It's more like three squares attached in a row. There's one d in each square. There's one more offensive player, and then one per square. Two offense can be in the square with the ball, but only one d. (So the d's stay in their square, but as the ball moves around one attacker can move with it) You pretty much go back and forth as many times as you can.

    I guess it works offense and defense at the same time. But I don't know much about thoes weird attacking players. 8)
     
  5. Mo79

    Mo79 FHF Staff

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2006
    Messages:
    276
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi,

    will look for something on coaching pressing and drills to aid with that.
     
  6. Mo79

    Mo79 FHF Staff

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2006
    Messages:
    276
    Likes Received:
    0
    Here is something you guys can read.Pressing is a form of zonal defence.Drills forthcoming.
    Presented by Danny Kerry(current GB and England Coach).I've added in some of my own notes.Feel free to discuss the various points.This is merely one way.It is by no means the only way to defend.

    Regards

    Mo

    [attachment deleted by admin]
     
  7. nerd_is_the_word

    nerd_is_the_word FHF All Time Great

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2006
    Messages:
    2,222
    Likes Received:
    88
    Location:
    Queensland, AUS
    Mo i dont totally agree with that... while i agree that a well worked press does have major benefits, its not just about squeezing the player with the ball, especially now that overheads have become so common in mens hockey
     
  8. Mo79

    Mo79 FHF Staff

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2006
    Messages:
    276
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi,Nerd

    the pic is merely for illustrative purposes.I put it up so those who aren't familiar with pressing concepts can see an example.

    Read the document :)
     
  9. nadeem

    nadeem FHF Regular Player

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2006
    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    0
    i will check on my notes what Mauritz Hendricks has to say on 'zonal def'.Mo, i and danny were in the same clinic being coached by FIH coaches at Joburg.my interputation is slightly different than what FIH coaches say.
    tell u a story.i was given the topic 'how can S.Africa beat S.Korea' .....any chance.i said yes they can beat.95% of the class said no.if they play on my plan they can win.the plan is simple
    1.....never play on the pace of the Koreans because they will outpace u.slow down
    2.....the koreans always have a plan to score in the 1st 15 mins.if they dont they tend to panic.
    3.....that is the time to c-attk & if u can score ,u win
    4.....use zonal def in the 1st 15 mins which will automatically slow down the koreans.
    within 15 mins of my lecture a person came to me that s.african coach wants to see me.i explained to him what i said above.i'm surprised they played exactly as i told them & they created a great upset by beating them.later the S.African hockeypresident also called me after the match & thanked me.
    that is the advantage of zonal def.
    regards
     
  10. Mo79

    Mo79 FHF Staff

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2006
    Messages:
    276
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi Nadeem

    I was an observer in jhb.We probably crossed paths and never spoke.

    1.Touche-play your game.
    v Korea you must vary the pace of the game to your advantage.
    2.Must provide sufficient cover defence and be able to make a quick transition from att to defence.Getting numbers back asap.
    3.Not sure if any team ALWAYS plans to score in the first 15min.If you don't score within those 15min,then what?It feels like a failure to execute the game plan.Scoring takes care of itself so to speak(pls not be to be interpreted too literally).Execute the elements that lead to goalscoring opportunites.
    4. Use of zonal defence-sound.I think we must appreciate teams and coaches are learning to adapt and change tactics(without always having to wait for half-time).Its called scenario planning in the corporate world. eg Here is the plan,if Plan A doesnt work bcos of x,y,z-identify-change to plan B.At that level players 'ought' to be able to adapt tactically.Its very difficult to execute a tactic successfully for a full 70min(talking about the top 6 teams).
    Unpredicatability has a place in hockey-keep them guessing(while your obviously aware of the changes and their effects)

    Nadeem since u have notes,if willing pls share.I seem to recall the the Spanish playing 4-3-3 in attack and resorting to a 4-4-2 in defence with some success.
     
  11. steve

    steve Founder/Owner
    FHF Administrator

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2006
    Messages:
    2,447
    Likes Received:
    448
    Location:
    Malta
    Stick/s:
    Ritual Velocity 95
    Coaching: Pressing Drills

    Pressing Drills

    I have adopted some of the drills from other sports and I have found out that if you change them a little bit they will work wonders with field hockey.

    FIVE VS FIVE - PRESSING

    Number of players: Two teams of five, plus goalkeepers

    Rules
    · Normal game until a team scores
    · When a team scores, they cannot score again until they lose a goal
    · The winning team tries to play possession hockey – the losing team, using the goalkeeper as an outfield player, tries to gain possession and score· When an equalizer is scored, the game returns to normal
    · No penalty corners

    Winners
    a team wins by: a) being one goal ahead at full time, or b) being one goal ahead for a five-minute period


    *****


    PRESSING PRACTICE

    I took this drill from Gero Bisanz, the respected German Soccer coach who won three European Women’s Championships and a Women’s World Cup runners-up spot while in charge of the German national women’s team. This drill is aimed at improving pressing play.

    Game set-up:
    Six attackers, plus one extra player, play against six defenders and one goalkeeper If the defenders win the ball, their opponents attack the player with the ball immediately to try to win it back..

    The defenders try to dribble across the end line and score in one of the small goals. Playing time: 2 x 10 minutes

    [​IMG]
     
  12. nadeem

    nadeem FHF Regular Player

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2006
    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    0
    sorry Mo,i remmember one of our coaches has gone to Iran on a coaching assignment.he has taken some of my notes.
    yes i recollect the Spanish using different combinations inn attk & def.basically they used only 3 fwds & the entire midfield players will go in direct support.i had a lot of discussion with Roland Altmen on this subj.in his words he & Mauritz started this combi in 1996 Atlanta olympics which they won.
    personally i liked this fmn.MO did u attend any classes at Joburg.appreciate if u give ur full name bcos i have all the addresses.
    regards
     
  13. Mo79

    Mo79 FHF Staff

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2006
    Messages:
    276
    Likes Received:
    0
    Nadeem,

    will reply to your private email to avoid going off the topic :)
     

Share This Page