Water Polo Tactics by Dave Maynard

Volume 2 Number 4 March 1, 2010
Imagination is more important than knowledge - Albert Einstein.

The M-Zone Defense Attack Against It

The defense has just transitioned into the M-Zone defense.  What is the attack to do?  Well, the defense has given you outside shooting options, so you can always take those.  The problem is, as we’ve discussed, is that in giving up the outside shot, the defense has also funneled the attack’s shots from one side of the pool, if not one position.  So go ahead and shoot, but everyone in the pool knows where that shot is coming from.

The trick is to drive.  That’s right!  Utilize the one simple motion based attack that everyone says is gone in today’s game.  DRIVE

If we paint the perfect scenario of the attack and place a right handed shooter at every position and a lefty at the 4 position, the attack is in the best set-up possible.  The 4 position is the trigger for the play.  Once the ball gets to this position, that’s when action starts, and the 2 position drives to “the strike zone.”



I have used the term “the strike zone” several other times, but to clarify, this is the area inside the 5M between the posts.  If a shooter gets the ball in their hands here and has the ability to make a clean shot, fire away!

The best thing a team can do when using this tactic is to anticipate where the ball is going, stay in good position so movement is quick when it is time to drive, and don’t get caught being a spectator.

“Spectator, Coach?  I don’t follow.”

Remember back to the first lesson: When used properly, the (M-Zone) defense can catch the attack off guard, possibly get them into a panic, suffocate the Hole, and open up the counterattack.”

Ah, there it is.  The counterattack is the by-product of the M-Zone.  The 2-3 Gap-D and the 3-4 Gap-D are in-line with the attackers 2, 3, and 4, with clear water in front of them to transition into.  With this play, the 2 attacker is moving toward the goal, thus surrendered transition water to the defense.  So, whoever is not shooting, better be covering up.

But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.  This is the topic for next month, so don’t worry defense, you’re not entirely beat.  The attack is going to need this time to prepare on beating the M-Zone in the front court, because it is an all out attack and they better make sure they drain the shot.  If they don’t, they’re gonna pay for it.


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