Water Polo Tactics by Dave Maynard

Volume 3 Number 2 April 1, 2011
Imagination is more important than knowledge - Albert Einstein.

Man-Advantage – 4-2 Passing Triangles Basic

It can’t be stressed enough that the Man-Advantage Attack is VERY important in today’s water polo game.  A team’s success in the Man-Advantage is just as much passing as it is shooting.  In fact, a very efficient passing game can make up the difference for a team that has a lesser shooting ability.  Passing efficiently and effectively moves the ball quickly around your attack and gets the defense moving.  It’s when you get the defense between movements where they are vulnerable.  And shooting can come from several options, be it the outside posts, the wing positions, or running to 2-Out or 3-Out plays.  However, none of it is possible with a good passing game.  And for that you need to know your fundamental passing Triangles of the 4-2 Man-Advantage attack.

There are two triangles within the 4-2 scheme that is ultimately the most effective.  They are the 1-5-2 and the 4-6-3 triangles.  Passing with these Triangles maximizes defensive movement for their coverage and yields the most scoring opportunity.  Note that each Triangle includes a low post player at either the 2 or 3 position of the attack scheme.  These passes are only taken when utilizing the 2-Out or 3-Out plays.  And the only come from one of the two positions in their triangles

Notice that just by setting up that Post (2 or 3) Out play, it draws back the respective high post defenders and this opens up the passing lanes for the perimeter Triangle players.  And when you pass between those outside Triangle players, it maximizes movement of the defense.  And then, when those top perimeter players get more engaged in the play, it draws their high post defender away from the low post player is it “out.”  A couple more passes to keep the defense moving, the passing lane to the low post player is open and the it’s a quick catch, shoot, score.

Also notice what happens when there is a pass outside of your triangle.  In this play, you see the pass between the 5 and 6 positions.  Very little movement on the low post defenders and goalie, so don’t go looking for the shot from passes outside of your Triangle.  But now, with the ball in a different Triangle, the passing is different, the defense is fatigued, and shooting is going to be more available.  This one ended with a pass to the 2 on the 2-Out Play.

It’s very important to note that passes to your low post players typically come from your high post players, but they don’t come in line.  For example, the 4 shouldn’t be passing to the 2, as the defense is already in position for shots from the 4 and the 2 will be covered heavily.  Likewise going between the 5 and 3 positions.

This is fundamental passing scheme is the building block for more advanced plays within the Man-Advantage.  Some of which we have talked about, others we have yet to discuss.  But it’s a system of passing on the Man-Advantage that teams all over utilize.  Know it, understand it, and be more prepared for it.  Knowing the basics in all aspects of the game of water polo makes you a better team both on the attack as well as the defense.  Know what the attack wants to do, and you will know how to defend it.


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