Styles of Play & Formations

Discussion in 'Articles' started by steve, Aug 11, 2006.

  1. steve

    steve Founder/Owner
    FHF Administrator

    Mar 31, 2006
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    Ritual Velocity 95
    Extract from Field Hockey Techniques & Tactics by Claire Mitchell-Taverner

    The styles of play that you adopt will largely reflect the number of players you want to allocate to defence, midfield and attack at any given time. You will have 11 players on the field at one time, and the starting positions on the field will not differ much, no matter which style you adopt. The differences between the styles will be more obvious as players commit more or less to attacking and defensive roles during the course of the game. Whatever your team adopts, nothing is set in stone. You can always make changes according to your opposition, the form of particular players, playing conditions and, perhaps most significant, the score line.

    Determining Strengths and Weaknesses
    Is your goal all-out attack, or is it defence and a clean net at all costs? Is your goal to play patient hockey while waiting for a counterattacking opportunity because you don’t think you can win using another tactic? Or is it impulsive and attacking hockey that creates risks defensively but creates lots of scoring opportunities?

    It may be that you have a strong Penalty-corner battery and are simply looking to win penalty corners from which you think your team has a good chance to score. This will mean that you don’t need to commit large numbers of players to attack because you are not necessarily trying to score field goals. You can keep numbers in the midfield and work the ball upfield, slowly but surely. This is not necessarily a pretty or fast style of hockey to watch, but it can be effective with the appropriate personnel on your corner battery. Many teams consider a penalty corner to be a free shot on goal, so they play to win penalty corners. For example, the Pakistan men’s team has a particularly effective flicker, Sohail Abbas, so a penalty corner is particularly useful.

    Similarly, you might have fast players in your team who are very good at executing the counterattacking style of play. In this instance it may be that your midfielders and strikers are quick to break in the right situation, so your team defends stoutly and waits for the right moment to make one of very few attacking moves during a match. The English women’s team usually has speedy strikers who they often rely on in this way, and the U.S.A women’s team tries to score through the counterattack predominantly also.
    It may be that you have the personnel to absorb attacking pressure for the duration of the game and seize one of very few attacking opportunities when it arises. Spain is a team in women’s hockey that does this in the extreme, and the United States occasionally does too. In this situation you would commit many players to defensive roles and sit only one or two strikers up high to receive the ball and win a penalty corner or get a good goal shot away when and if the opportunity arises as the result of an opposition error. This style you might adopt if you didn’t think you could reliably match the opposition for skill and possession for the duration of the game. In this instance you would have the attitude: “Player for player we probably don’t have the personnel to win, so we’ll defend and hope we can get a scoring opportunity against run of play.†This is a perfectly common, legitimate and effective game plan that will frustrate your opposition!
    John Mowat is one noteworthy coach that I had for many years. Mowat, an FIH coach and VIS head coach of the men’s program, believes the most difficult component is the important decision-making aspect of the game.
    Mowat say that style of play that you choose for your team (and this may change according to the state of play) will depend predominantly on three factors:

    1. The strengths and weaknesses of your team, and your predominant method of scoring
    2. The strengths and weaknesses of your opposition, and their predominant method of scoring
    3. Your preferences and experience learned as a coach or a player, which influence your decisions in all areas of the game

    The style of play that you choose might differ according to the particular opposition on any given day and the stranghts and weaknesses of both teams. The most basic choices that you have in regard to a system or a style are as follows, although it is important to keep in mind that variations are available for each of these. Toni Cumpston, head women’s coach of the VIS, makes the following general observations about the basic styles of play.

    Australian Traditional Style of Play
    This traditional system often appears more in practice as follows:
    • Five forwards, three halfback, two deep defenders, one goalkeeper (235-AUSSIE.JPG)
    • Two high strikers, three midfielders (inside forwards), three halfbacks, two fullbacks, one goalkeeper (2332-AUSSIE.JPG)
    • Three high strikers, two attacking midfielders, three defensive midfielders, two defenders, one goalkeeper (2323-AUSSIE.JPG)
    • Two high strikers, two attacking midfielders, two defensive midfielders, four defenders, one goalkeeper (3124-AUSSIE.PG)
    • Four high strikers, two midfielders, three defenders and an attacking sweeper in front of the defenders, rather than behind in the traditional sense.

    This is the traditional Australian or Eastern set-up that has an emphasis on attack. When a team is in possession of the ball, this style enables them to get numbers into attack and encourage the use of width and depth to stretch the opposition’s defence. When a team is not in possession of the ball, there is man-to-man marking on the side of the ball, with the defenders on the opposite side of the field providing cover defence. This traditional style of play is more attacking in nature than the alternatives and would be used by a team that is solid at the back and also strong in attack.

    European Style of Play
    The formation of three strikers, three midfielders, three defenders, one deep defender and one goalkeeper is typically a European style of play, which emphasizes having numbers in midfield. It is a safe option and minimizes the risk of your opponent’s breaking and attacking with numbers through the midfield.
    The European style emphasizes possession and control of the play. When in possession of the ball, players usually pass the ball around in a ‘stick-to-stick’ manner rather than throwing it into space. By doing this, players expect that the ball movement will create opportunities and space in the opponent’s positional lines to enable forwards to receive the ball in a one-on-one situation without a cover defence in place.
    When a team does not have possession, the emphasis with the European style of play is on man-to-man defence, with the central defender acting as sweeper and offering cover from in front of or behind the other defenders. The majority of teams play with a combination of these systems. In this situation the result is that most teams value possession and pass the ball around ‘stick to stick’ until a good opportunity is created or gaps open up, allowing weighted balls to be passed through the lines for running attackers. The defensive structure enables defence to support the attack without the risk of being exposed because lack of cover.

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    These styles of play are indicative only. The important thing to remember is that the players must understand the exact way in which they are to play their positions on the field, not only the format in which they are they are to lineu up on the field. For example, each player’s role within the particular style will differ slightly according to the playing conditions, the opposition and the team objectives.
    There is no regulation as to how you set up your players. On a couple of occasions when I played for the Hockeyroos, we played without the goalkeeper and introduced and extra field player to bolster the attack. You would do this if you really needed to score and had nothing to lose. In this set-up, you would need to win at all costs!

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  2. pearcey2

    pearcey2 FHF Newbie

    Jun 5, 2006
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    Aren't the 2323 and 235 formations the same?
  3. zippytime

    zippytime FHF Legend

    Jun 3, 2006
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    No if you look at the drawings the positions are actually different i.e. 3 strikers are used in the 2323 formation which is a different position to a CF LW or RW plus AM play differently to IL or IR.

    They are all derivatives of the same formation though and what Claire Mitchell-Taverner is showing is that the system the aussies use is very diverse by only changing a few players a short distance you get a different pattern and a different strength and weakness within it. Moving the players around helps them play against different teams
  4. Wilster

    Wilster FHF Regular Player

    May 28, 2008
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    The year my county team won the National finals we used this bad boy (attached)

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  5. Go Jamie Dwyer

    Go Jamie Dwyer FHF Regular Player

    May 7, 2008
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    I've got that book, it's really good
  6. eatsleepplayhockey

    eatsleepplayhockey FHF Newbie

    May 26, 2009
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    Found this article

    Asian style of hockey and the European style coaching
    What was good and what was not so good about it?
    Shiv Jagday FIH Coach

    There is so much to write about this topic — Asian style hockey and European style coaching — and I don’t know from where to start and where to finish. One can write a thesis on this cross pollination marriage, topic.

    Taking one baby step at a time, I will put my inner thoughts and views in this article, and share them with you.
  7. bappyho

    bappyho FHF Newbie

    Apr 22, 2010
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    I wished lot of play.For a plat Styles and Formations is so necessary. Because, Styles and Formations is increasing interest day by day. Every one flow this rules.
  8. MK

    MK FHF Legend

    Jan 17, 2010
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