Phases of the game
A team should play differently depending on the time in the game and after goals
Tactically at the start of each half the team should lock the field down. This
means playing a very compact defense and a very conservative offense. After the
team scores a goal there is a sense of euphoria. This can lead to careless play.
Moreover, the other team will double their efforts to score. After a goal is a
very dangerous time for a team to celebrate and lose focus.
Icing the puck is a term used in ice hockey. From Wikipedia:
Icing is an infraction in the sport of ice hockey. It occurs when a player
shoots the puck across both the center red line and the opposing team's goal
line, and the puck remains untouched. It is, however,not icing if the puck is
shot from behind the halfway line into the goal, or when the shot must be played
by the opposing team's goaltender to keep it out of the net. In the former case
with a shot puck crossing the goal line completely, the goal is counted.
A major exception is when a team is shorthanded. A team trying to kill a penalty
may legally "ice the puck". A team on a power play, however, must still follow
the icing rules.
When icing occurs, a linesman stops play. Play is resumed with a faceoff in the
defending zone of the team that committed the infraction.
When we talk about "icing the puck" we are talking about using up the clock at
the end of the game or when one of your players receives a card and is off of
the field or at the start of the game or the second half or when a goal is
scored. The tactics used by the team change. Move the ball to the right side of
the field. Push the ball as far up the pitch as possible. Then control the ball
in that space. Too few teams know when and how to "ice the puck". The Dutch
women know when to "ice the puck".
Closing down the other team when they are in possession of the ball is a
critical skill that that is used during a lock down phase. The other team must
not be allowed to run the ball. They must not be allowed to build up momentum.
The other team should be denied space. Marking man to man inside of the 25 works
effectively but must be coupled with team tackling.
The End Game
At the end of the game if you are ahead and have the ball in the opponents 25 do
not try to score if the other team has locked down the 25 with a compact
defense. Instead do what Naomi Van As did in the final of the 2008 Olympics. Go
to the right corner flag/sideline and protect the ball while dribbling it away
from the other team. Find a foot when the other team over extends their reach
while trying to take the ball away. Do not take the ball to the absolute corner
and try and dribble on the end line. Give yourself some space away from the end
line and the sideline. 1 meter if possible. Naomi kept the ball and the clock
wound down. Holland were 2008 Olympic champions. New Zealand "killed" the game
on the right side line after scoring the only goal in the 1976 Olympics against
the heavily favored Australians. The right inner, right wing, and right half
worked the ball around their triangle while retaining possession. The ability to
retain the ball is critical.
If you are losing by one goal and do not have the ball and the other team is in
the corner while the clock is winding down give them an opening to induce them
to go at the goal so that you at least have a chance to get the ball. Forwards
have a difficult time controlling their instincts to run at the goal. Draw them
out of the corner.
If you are in your defense and you are ahead or the score is tied and the clock
is winding down, Do not give the ball away under any circumstances. Do not give
the opposition the chance to tackle your players if possible. If you are caught
with the ball on the sideline, be strong on the ball, make the other team foul
you. Face the sideline. Do not try to clear the ball up the field. The other
team will run it at your circle 5-10 seconds later if you do. Get very low.
China made a critical mistake in the 2013 World League third place game with 34
seconds to go. The score was tied at 2. The Chinese player had the ball at their
left corner flag. Instead of dribbling the ball away from the Argentinians who
were pressing, she hit the ball with a reverse swing and the ball ended up on
Carla Rebechi's stick. Rebechi dribbled into the D and took a shot. The ball was
miss hit and looped up a foot and then down under the goal keepers boot.
Argentina through the most unlikely circumstances will go through to the World
Cup as a result. Were the Chinese women coached to kill the ball on the sideline
when the game was tied and they were deep in their own end with only seconds
left on the clock?