You want to have "support" on both offense & defense. "Support" refers to having teammates who are properly positioned near the ball (i.e., within passing range on offense and within 5 - 10 steps of the First Defender on defense):
- A. On Offense, there should always be 2 or more teammates within passing range (7-15 steps, depending on age) who are open for a pass. One of these can be following the ballhandler (a "trailer"). The key concepts are First Attacker, "Second Attacker", "Third Attacker" and Support Distance & Relative Position).
- B. On Defense there are 3 key concepts:
- "First Defender" - The player closest to the ball must challenge the ball & try to slow down the attack or block a shot, and
- "Second Defenders" - The second closest player must be the Second Defender and back up the First Defender and stay between the ball and the goal. The Second Defender should stay about 5-7 steps behind the First Defender and should become the First Defender if the ballhandler gets by the initial First Defender. (In this case, the initial defender should drop back to help the defender who was backing him up).
- "Shift & Sag" - As soon as the ball is lost, your team should quickly "transition" from offense to defense; the closest player should become the "First Defender" the next two closest should become the "Second Defenders" & all the rest should "shift & sag". What this means is to shift so they are generally between the ball & the goal & sag back to create multiple layers of defenders (which is called "Depth"). There are 2 rules that you can use to teach your players how to "shift & sag" on defense:
- C. All players should shift toward the ball whether on offense or defense. Ideally, there should be multiple layers of support on both offense & defense.
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