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Coach's Tips

Playing Tips for Attackmen, Defensemen, and Goalies

Tips for Attackman

  1. Make your defense man play you and you alone every second you are in the game. Keep moving all the time so that he must center his attention on you an not be in position to help out his fellow defense men.
  2. In moving the ball around the circle, make all passes sharp, short, and to the outside, away from the defense man.
  3. Make feed passes hard.
  4. When you have the ball, never stand still - keep moving all the time - if necessary run backwards and forwards - but keep moving. When you are ready to make a pass, take one step back quickly and move.
  5. All feed passes must be thrown directly overhand or directly underhand - not sidearm.
  6. Always move to meet every pass, and circle away from your defense man.
  7. When you have the ball, be constantly faking passes - keep your defense man's stick moving.
  8. When in possession of ball, make the defense man play your stick - watch his stick - the position of it will determine the direction of your feed and the type of dodge you might try.
  9. Take pains to make every pass good.
  10. Never make a pass to a man who is covered just to get rid of the ball.
  11. If an attack man is being ridden hard and can't dodge or get away - the nearest man on each side goes to help him.
  12. On all long shots, a man must be on the crease.
  13. On every screen shot the crease man should check-up on the defense man's stick, and immediately face the goalie, so that he is ready to bat in a rebound.
  14. After receiving a pass, as the ball moves around the outside, look first at the man who threw you the ball to see what he is doing, then at the crease.
  15. If you receive a pass after cutting and haven't got a good shot, hold onto the ball.
  16. Place all shots, usually for a far corner, and shoot hard. When within five yards of the goal, the shot should be for a top corner.
  17. After picking up a loose ball, turn and face the crease immediately. If nobody is open, move in fast until you are picked up.
  18. Don't dodge if there is an open man. Don't hold the ball long unless you are planning a dodge. Keep it moving with quick, short passes.
  19. Always be in position to back up shots and feeds. When a cut is made, or a shot is taken, the whole attack must play a part, moving to be in a position to backup a pass or a shot. Control the ball!
  20. Never try to dodge when men are in position to back up.
  21. Never try to force in, with the ball or by a pass, if the defense is drawn in. Pull them out first.
  22. Never stand so close together that one man can cover two attack men.
  23. When there is a loose ball on the ground, go after it fast and hard, you must have the ball!
  24. Always keep your field balanced in order that you stay in better position to back up, and give your teammates space to work in.
  25. Shoot plenty, but only if you feel you have a good shot.
  26. Always have one, preferably two, men behind the goal to back up shots.
  27. Time your cuts, don't cut if the man with the ball is not watching or not in position to pass.
  28. Make full cuts - go through and out - don't cut at half speed or hang around the crease after your cut.
  29. Zig your cuts, fake left - go right, fake right - go left. Don't always run at the same speed, change of pace is a very effective method of getting open.
  30. After the ball has been cleared, if you have a wide open opportunity to dodge, do it, or if you are sure a man is open, pass to him, otherwise settle the ball down and let your attack get set up. Remember, after a clear the wimpy midfielders will need time to catch their breath. Middies rest on offense, not defense, Control The Ball!
  31. Every man on the attack should try at least two dodges every game. Learn at least three different types of dodges.
  32. When you lose the ball, ride it. The close attack must ride and ride hard until the ball is past midfield.
  33. Don't rush at a man when riding - particularly behind the goal. Force him to pass - force him in the direction where there is help. Talk all the time and run hard. The success of an attack depends on their riding ability and their desire to have the ball.
  34. Always remember that teamwork is the key to a good attack.

Tips for Defensemen
  1. Don't rush an attack man after he has caught the ball. If he is receiving a rather long pass and you are sure you can reach him before the ball, go after him, checking his stick and hitting him with your body.
  2. As a pass is made to the man you are playing, move out to cover him as the ball is moving to him, so that you are in position as he catches it. Don't wait until he has caught the ball, and then move out on him.
  3. Never take a step into a man while playing him on defense.
  4. Once the attack man has the ball, worry him plenty by poke checking, etc., don't give much chance to look over his field, make him worry about you. Don't force or rush him however. There is a big difference between worrying a man and forcing or rushing him. Make the attack make the first move.
  5. When not poking at the man with ball, keep your stick a little above the height of your attack man's shoulder. Don't ever carry it at your side, KEEP IT UP!
  6. When your man hasn't got the ball, always play slightly to the ball side of him, so that you gain a step as he cuts toward the ball. If he cuts away from the ball, the pass must go over your head which leaves you in good position to intercept or check.
  7. When your man hasn't got the ball, stand sideways to the man and ball. You must use split vision watching both man and ball.
  8. There must be plenty of talk on defense, this is important. The following are the most important examples: a) The man on each side of the ball must let the man on the ball know if he is-backed up. b) If a man leaves to back up he must let the defense know he is leaving, so that they may shift. c) The man playing the ball must holler, "I've got-the ball". d) If a man cuts, the defense man playing him should holler "man cutting" so that he alerts the rest of the defense for a possible switch. e) If a switch is necessary, both men call "SWITCH".
  9. If a man leaves to back up on a dodge, the whole defense slides a man, leaving the man farthest from the ball open.
  10. Only in extreme cases, should the defense man on the crease leave to back up. Example: To stop a play that would end up in a score.
  11. Never cross your feet while playing an attack man unless you are forced to run to keep up with him.
  12. Never throw a ball just to get rid of it.
  13. Always scoop a loose ball. Never draw it. If there is a crowd, go through and either kick it or scoop it up.
  14. When you check, make your check short and hard, making your check across the man's forearm and following through with your body. Never raise your stick high to check.
  15. If a man dodges you, keep after him. You should catch him as your backer comes in from the front.
  16. Never pass a ball across in front of your goal.
  17. If you are after a loose ball, but your attack man is ahead of you, press him hard if you cannot come up with the ball, but don't give him the opportunity to go around you.
  18. After the man you are playing throws a ball, step back two steps quickly and be ready for a cut. Also always look in the direction of the ball as you drop off. Don't turn your back on the ball.
  19. As the man you are playing starts a pass, check across his arms, but don't step in.
  20. A. If the ball is out front, and your man is behind the goal, play on the pipe of the cage on the side of the goal your man is on. B. If the ball is behind the goal and your man is behind also although without the ball, go behind with him.
  21. If you ever switch, STAY WITH THAT MAN until your team gets the ball or you have to switch again.
  22. Whey clearing the ball, as you catch the ball, circle away from your stick side if you are moving in to receive the pass.
  23. Never let an attack man clamp your stick. If you are on the crease on a screen shot, stop it or catch it, if you can't do either then move so that your goalie can see it.
  24. Once the other team has cleared the ball, all defense men must drop in fast, RUN HARD --THIS IS ONE TIME YOU CANNOT LOAF.
  25. On clears, make all passes sharp, away from the (attack man) and, as a general rule, to the nearest open man.
  26. On a clear, when making a pass to a man who is coming in to meet the ball throw at his face, so that he catches the ball in front of him, making it hard for a (attack man) to check him.
  27. If the ball is rolling toward the midfield line, NEVER ALLOW your attack man to beat you to the ball. Be alert, use your stick to goose the ball to teammate. Don't let the attack man clamp your stick or lift up so ball goes under and through. Remember, if the ball is 5 yards away or less you can use your body for position. Don't hit from the rear and don't go offside.


Your feet should be shoulder width apart and your hands should be way from your body to prevent being handcuffed on offside shots. Your hands should be 12-18" apart. Most importantly, you need to find a comfort zone where you are ready to attack the ball and make the save. Practice your outlets just as much as you practice making saves. There is nothing worse than making a great save and then giving the ball back to the other team because of a bad pass.

Talk to your defense and let them know where the ball is on the field. As the quarterback of the defense, you must recognize situations such as fast breaks and direct your defensemen to the correct positions. The tone of your voice says a lot; if you are not a vocal person, you better start being one. Stay positive even after a goal is scored. A goalie who has control of his defense will have the respect of the team.

If you give up a goal do not get down on yourself or your defense. You can't take the goal off the scoreboard but you can recognize what you did wrong, practice that step or specific movement, AND GET THE NEXT ONE. Have confidence in your abilities to stop the ball. If you lose your confidence, your defense will soon follow. Always believe you can save every shot.

Your warm-up should be a warm-up, not target practice for the best shooters on your team. Find someone you trust to give you a proper warm-up. Tell the shooter what you want. I recommend:

* 8-10 shots stickside high
* 8-10 shots off-stick high
* 8-10 shots stickside hip
* 8-10 shots offstick hip
* 8-10 stickside bounce
* 8-10 off-stickside bounce
* 10-15 shots "mix it up"

In Conclusion
Watch and listen to the great goaltenders and notice their different styles. Take what works best for them and adapt it to your specific style of play.

Goalie Tips

  1. Have a short term memory.  Forget whats already happened and concentrate on the now.
  2. Tennis balls are great for practice.
  3. Never be afraid to come out of the crease, come out for clears, and move up field if no one pressures you. 
  4. Have people shoot on you!! 
  5. Pay attention to your position in the crease.