#12 Defensive System

Drill 12.4: Tight Zone - 2-3-1

This systems applies to a let 'em shoot theory of play, forcing all shots from a distance.

Tight Zone - 2-3-1


  1. Defensive team forms a 2-3-1 type formation as shown in diagram to keep ball from being passed into any center shooting zone area.
  2. Defensive players slide from one side to the other depending on location of the ball.
  3. This system allows for long shots and is only effective if the goalie is better than average.
  4. 3-2-1 defensive system is employed when opponents place a man in hole position.

Drill 12.5: Switching

This system provides a cover-up for defensive mistakes or to match the overpowering speed of the opponents.



  1. This system protects guards who have been outmaneuvered or out-swam; The switch should always be started by player who has lost his man.
  2. Guard X1 should leave runaway back 01 and head toward closest downfield forward 02 on his side of the pool.
  3. This enables teammate X2 to leave his man (who will be covered by guard) to pick up breakaway offensive player.
  4. This procedure applies especially to a direct downfield breaking situation.

    Note: Goalie should call the switch, since he is in the best position to see the play develop.

Bill's Biography

Bill Anttila
Known nationally as one of the foremost authorities on water polo, Bill Anttila was inducted in the USA Water Polo Hall of Fame on January 17, 2004. He was involved in aquatics from 1947-1984. In 1948, Bill was responsible for the inauguration of the first community college water polo program in Northern California at Stockton College. Before that, Bill began the water polo program at the University of the Pacific in 1947. He coached the Pacific Tigers for 18 years with only one losing season and his 1956 team won the league championship with a 12-2 record. Bill was also the swimming coach at Stockton College, where he won 10 NCC championships and never had a losing season.

During his 38 years of coaching water polo, his teams won 10 Northern California Championships. In 1,099 games, Anttila compiled a 759-340 overall record {.691 winning percentage}. At the time of his retirement, Anttila was the winningest water polo coach in the United States. He had the satisfaction of coaching over 50 All-Americans. He has written a book titled Water Polo Drills and Playing Hints. Anttila was inducted into the Stockton Hall of Fame in 1985. He was then inducted into the University of the Pacific Athletic Hall of Fame in 1989. He is currently retired and resides in Stockton with his wife, Sisko, of 50 years.


The medal pictured above is the last solid gold Olympic medal which was given out at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics in Sweden

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