Water Polo Tactics by Dave Maynard

Volume 3 Number 4 June 1, 2011
Imagination is more important than knowledge - Albert Einstein.

Wing Attack at the 2M

Allow me to paint a picture.  Your Hole-Set swims to the 2M and they are met with a superior Hole-Defender and ultimately, they get pushed around and out of position.  This throws off the condition of the entire set offense and your front court attack is out of whack.  Now what?

It happens all too often.  Not every team is equipped with a proper Hole-Set to Hole-D match up.  And in some instances on the attack the Hole-Set can find themselves trying to set somewhere at the 4M to 5M, looking at a double team, and at the same point, all perimeter players are marked with a press.  Consequently, the perimeter players give more room for the Hole-Set to work, ultimately moving further away from the goal they are trying to shoot on.  The next thing you know, you have your shooters spotting up from 7M to 8M away, at best, and taking long shots on goal that are ultimately blocked by the goalie, if they make it that far.  This is NOT what is supposed to happen.  There has to be a way around this, right?  Right…. It’s called DRIVING!!!

There are ways around a defending team that apparently shuts down a static front court attack, and that is to change gears and activate your motion based attack.  For this instance, where you Hole-Set is getting pushed out of position, you can utilize a back door drive from the wing into the Hole.  Watch this

Yes, the defense did it’s job in neutralizing the Hole-Set and getting them out of position.  What they didn’t do is prepare themselves for the motion attack from the wing.  When they Hole-D pushed the Hole-Set out, they left the “Strike Zone” wide open.  The winger player from the 1 position drives through and gets a wet-pass from the winger in the 5 position.  The back of the cage is wide open and all it takes is for the driver to flick that ball in to put one up on the board.

What the driver defender does also impacts the pass as well.  As shown, the driver defender takes the goal side on the drive, and the wet pass is the safest rout and gives the attacker the most options to work with, and the defender, if they foul, would be issued an exclusion.  If the driver defender takes the field side of the driver, the driver has to open up their drive to the field even more, then look to pivot to face the goal and get their hips up to box out the defender.  The wing passing in could give a high and dry entry pass, and the driver could go for a one-timer redirect shot, or with a wet pass they can shoot it off the water.  There is also the possibility of a penalty foul in the mix as well.  In the end, these are all good things for the attack.

All is not lost when your Hole-Set gets pushed out of the pit.  Your team just has to find another way to get to that area.  The driving game isn’t dead kids, it’s just been redefined, and tweaked, for a different look, but similar results.  Have fun with this one.  You can catch a lot of teams off guard, because who drives from the wing?  Really??!?!?!


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