Monday, October 02, 2006

Hot Spot Analysis ...

Hey Folks,

When watching a team play man defense, a standard captain/coaching role is to try and figure out what type of adjustments need to be made to the defense. Part of this involves looking for what I call hot spots. Hot spots are things the offense is doing with great success. For example, a team that stacks vertically and constantly breaks your team with a great handler represents a hot spot. Another example might be the opponents regularly getting a one two combo with a handler slash and flick and a striker up the open side of the field.

This post is not actually about man adjustments, but it's about applying these principles to zone. Why is this important? Well, one of the things I find with zones is that teams abandon them to quickly when they're not working instead of doing the same thing as we do with man defense. Analyzing where the hot spots are.

To find the hot spots in your zone requires two thought processes. The first is understanding what your goal is with a particular zone. The second is determining what part of the zone is failing to satisfy your goal due to the offense's intentions.

Once you know both of these, then the adjustment is to force the opponents into taking a course of action that can not exploit the hot spot.

Let us address a few things before we leave this topic. Zone adjustments are limited due to the general weakness of zone and its susceptibility to overloads (depending on skill level and competition). I would argue that you have 2 points to make an adjustment, but a better choice is reintroducing the zone later in the game with the adjustment.

Also, zone adjustments will likely result in a new hot spot against strong teams. This is a reality of all defenses since there are always attack points. The concern is that the new hot spot results in an even worse situation than previously.

Zone analysis is tough, but finding the hot spots should give you a good clue as to what isn't working.



Anonymous said...

Off hand, I can think of four reasons why that is and only one of them has to do with adjustments:

1)Zone D requires a lot more coordination beforehand among the team, as well as zoneO (pronounced "ZOH nee oh"). whether or not your team's zone works against another team's zoneO is determined to a greater extent before the tournament starts than man.

2)Making adjustments to a zone is tough off the fly because you never know what that adjustment might open up. That's why it's good to practice maybe one kind of proper zone (as opposed to manny zones like fsu) and really work it in so that people are familiar with how adjustments play out across the field.

3) In man, it's easier to attribute responsibility to one or two things that broke it apart, whereas a good zoneO has a lot more passes that all help to breakdown a whole system, and not just exploit a matchup. These kind of player-specific adjustments are common in zone anyways, but broader systematic changes require a lot more understanding.

4) If you can't play man D, you might as well hang 'em up. If you abandon man, what have you got left? junk? fouling? witchcraft?