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Principles of Team Defense
by Rich Corso, Havard Water Polo Foundation

Two-meter Defenders

  • Your Goals: Eliminate all goals out of set.
    • Play as physical as allowed.
      • The nature of the position requires that you will be ejected occasionally, but be aware of minimizing the number of ejections you need to take.
    • You must counter the two-meter man as often as possible.
  • Your Roles: Pick up - and defend - the two-meter man immediately, every single time.
    • Position is paramount
    • You must be mobile, quick, and aggressive.
    • Take the physical part of your defensive game to the limit!
    • Work-and communicate-with your goalie.

Perimeter Defenders

  • Your Goals:
    • Eliminate Counter-Attack Goals (1 on none, 2 on 1, 3 on 2)
    • Eliminate Goals out of Set
      • Press / Crash / Zone (When in doubt or in between, crash)
    • Elirninate Ejections on the Perimeter
      • Play the ball and adjust to the referee's style
  • Your Roles: Defend Early
    • Counter-Attack Defense:
      • Position Yourself Early on Offense in order to Eliminate any Counter-Attack Goals (1 on none, 2 on 1, 3 on 2)
      • Pick up and Press Immediately when the ball turns over
      • Identify their two~meter man ASAP & any possible free man
    • Front-Court Defense:
      • Delay the ball going into set as long as possible.
      • Be aware of the relation between the two-meter man's position and your own position and be ready to react accordingly
      • Recognize and communicate helps, gaps, and stair-steps. Do not allow yourself to be pulled out of a helping I team defense.

Five-on-Six Defenders

  • Your Goals: Hold Every Team to Less Than a 38% Success Rate
    • Your Priorities:
      1. Eliminate Goals from the Posts
      2. Eliminate Goals from 1 and 6
        • You Must Take the Shooting Lanes
      3. Minimize Goals from 4 and 5
      4. The key to success on 5-on-6 defense is all-out hustle!
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