How To Defend: 2 Defenders Against 1 Attacker

By Pablo Mendoza

Pablo Mendoza is an FIH Hockey Academy Educator and the owner of A Hockey World. Contact:

In theory, having a numerical advantage in defenders against 1 only attacker, seems an easy situation with high chances of recovering the ball. However, this does not happen all the time, especially against fast and skillful attackers. Here we analyse 3 situations that will explain how to properly defend in this situation.

1. The wrong defensive situation:

Let’s start from the wrong situation to the correct one. We can see how two Pakistani defenders try to take on one German player with negative results. The first defenders just faces the attacker with his feet in a parallel line and totally flat-planted on the ground, without the intention of channeling that attacker towards the 2nd defender.

We can see how the German attacker uses the space between the line of defenders to attack the space. The defenders, by taking a flat and parallel position of the feet instead of running and engaging the player with the ball, create a 1v1 situation followed by another 1v1 situation. In conclusion, they did not take the advantage of the numerical superiority.


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