Team formations

Discussion in 'General Hockey Chit-Chat' started by eal, Jul 14, 2017.

  1. eal

    eal FHF Newbie

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    Why are team formations (4-3-3, etc) never spoken about or listed in media coverage or match reports? As someone still learning about hockey I find it rather vague just seeing eleven players listed on a team-sheet and nothing more provided.

    I realise that hockey is a bit more flexible than football when it comes to team formations and positions, but hockey teams still have formations and tactics do they not?
     
  2. MKochar

    MKochar FHF Legend

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    I think you'l find it s a combination of 2 things:

    1) Hockey is much much more flexible than football, and as such anyone is a defender, and anyone is an attacker. As such the formation is pretty irrelevant as its more unstructured.

    2) The information might not be volunteered by coaches to TV. Hence it can't be communicated to those watching.
     
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  3. sanabas

    sanabas FHF All Time Great

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    Unless you get TV coverage from people who can watch the game and figure out roughly what structure they're using. But good luck with that.

    But yeah, agree completely with point 1, it's much more fluid than soccer, so being told a particular formation is probably less informative. Plus players are rotating regularly, changing positions more instead of being say left midfield for 80 minutes.
     
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  4. MKochar

    MKochar FHF Legend

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    The only real noticeable change is 3 or 4 at the back.
     
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  5. eal

    eal FHF Newbie

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    Thanks for the replies. While formations may be fluid, it would at least be nice to know basic field positions. For example, if I look at the current Egyptian team I have no idea who the defenders, midfielders, etc are. That info should at least be supplied by FIH.
     
  6. MKochar

    MKochar FHF Legend

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    why do you need to know this info?
     
  7. sanabas

    sanabas FHF All Time Great

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    FIH doesn't know, either.

    You'd need Hockey Egypt or whoever runs the team to put that info up on the team's website or something.
     
  8. eal

    eal FHF Newbie

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    I guess I don't need to know it. I am just trying to learn as much about the sport as possible, and like keeping databases of players, etc.
     
  9. Nij

    Nij FHF All Time Great

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    Even the formation itself is fluid. "Defenders" will often feature in attacking plays, and "attackers" will frequently be making tackles on the 23ML, and "midfielders" show up everywhere.

    Unless you want every potential formation and its variants listed, which is only going to help if you recognise the formation currently being used anyway, this won't help anybody enough to make it worthwhile.
     
  10. eal

    eal FHF Newbie

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    Thanks for the insight.
     
  11. ironman

    ironman FHF Top Player

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    I think you've been a hard done by here @eal - if displaying formations is useful in other sports such as football there's no reason why this can't translate to hockey. The reality here is that hockey doesn't have the resources/budget to put this into place, not because hockey is fluid! Every team will start the match with a certain structure (although this may change throughout the game) and whilst players can move all over the pitch they will tend to defend, start play from a 16 yrd hit, etc. in their 'set' position.
     
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  12. jonberg

    jonberg FHF Top Player

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    Who said that hockey formations don't exist? There are defenders, midfielders and attackers. Yes, the teams are more fluid but that doesn't mean that the coach doesn't give a starting formation.

    Maybe it's something that BT Sport should look into?
     
  13. Mick Mason

    Mick Mason FHF Regular Player

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    Yep, everyone knows what position they are nominally playing, and you see them take those positions at the push off. But at any time after that the positions are about responsibilities in the game and not about the people playing. At any time a forward can find themselves playing as wing or CF or even an Inside Forward or half and the rest of the team will adjust accordingly. The very best teams are able recognise the changes in needs during the game and are able to adjust quickly. Just this week we saw Mark Knowles carry the ball into the circle but you can bet there was someone watching and preparing to cover his responsibilities in defence in case things turned sour and he was caught well out of position.
     
  14. eal

    eal FHF Newbie

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    Interestingly, STAR Sports lists starting formations in their HIL coverage.
     
  15. MKochar

    MKochar FHF Legend

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    I'm still confused as to why formations are so important to you?

    How is knowing Suzanna Townsend is a midfielder so vital? What if she does a 12 min stint at forward, do you need to be informed of this too?

    What if a team start with 4 at the back but their plan is to push a half back high to become a 3?
     
  16. Mac

    Mac FHF Legend

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    In fairness to @eal the criticism of his request on the premise that hockey is "fluid" is a bit false. Rinus Michel's Total Football started with a broad 3-4-3 diamond formation but everyone could play everywhere (GK excepted) and players' intelligence exploited opposing vulnerabilities. There was still a system and a defensive shape (which is where a system is most useful - lets think about who marks whom, or which space, and why). Attacking fluidity and defensive shape are different and not incompatible things.

    I'm pretty certain (although by all means prove me incorrect) that e.g. Danny Kerry doesn't say to the ladies' team "Maddie is in goal, you 10 are starting, you other five are on the bench. Starters, play where you like..." There's a shape to the team, whether that's 4-3-3; 3-4-3; 3-2-3-2; or whatever. The fact that, as @MKochar says
    doesn't detract from how they are set up or their shape. Indeed, it validates their formation but balances it with a plan which is proactive or reactive based upon game state but one can chart that through the game by watching it.

    EDIT - [User] tags.
     
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  17. eal

    eal FHF Newbie

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    I am just interested in hockey tactics and how the sport is covered. I would think hockey fans would be keen to portray their sport as tactical and the media to also do this. There is clearly much more structure in place than a goalkeeper and ten people just following the ball around. If hockey was as fluid and unstructured as some were claiming players wouldn't be assigned as defenders, midfielders, etc to begin with.
     
  18. MKochar

    MKochar FHF Legend

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    International hockey is becoming less structured. That's the whole point.
    You are more often likely to see all 3 right side players (D/M/F) defending their own circle - this would never happen in football.

    Of all the sports, hockey has more fluidity of both position and lineup. Yes we have positions but the point is they are less rigid than other sports, simply because of the nature of the game.

    Therefore knowing a line up/formation is only as good as the team they play against. Because it could change during a game, as di the playing positions (upwards of 50 subs a game)
     
  19. Stuart Burnside

    Stuart Burnside FHF All Time Great

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    It's perfectly reasonable to be interested in where players typically play, and in formations. And it's interesting if they are lining up somewhere different than usual. It's also interesting if that changes mid-game.

    That's doable in my view. There are plenty of other fluid sports. Getting it right would increase the appeal of the televised version,

    However, the coaches won't share what they are doing, you have to work it out, in real time; and be capable of explaining it in a way that won't blow the minds of the average viewer that's not that hot on tactics. That takes a lot of commentary skill. Speaking of which, if we can lure @Simon_GK_Mason onto this thread he's better qualified than I do comment.

    Although I would like more of it, I am already envisaging parents saying "why didn't you switch to the abc scooby do high press like Australia used last week" as you try to coach their kids.
     
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  20. MKochar

    MKochar FHF Legend

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    Exactly - coaches will not share formation and/or tactics.
    The coaches are under no obligation to share why they might move a player from left to right or midfield to defence.

    It would make it more interesting to try and work out, but would be pointless affair as players change position and formation so often.

    I think it's hard because international players are just so damn good at everything. All can tackle, all can eliminate, all can pass.

    Football defenders are notoriously poor at 1v1 elimination. Hookers in Rugby are massively unlikely to be amazing ball handlers, as No10s are unlikely to be winning rucks.

    Hence pretty set and immovableb positions and skill-sets linked to a place in the the team/field.
     

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