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Field Hockey Tip

A how to Guide on Defense in Field Hockey

Nike Field Hockey How To Defense Guide

With field hockey being such a low scoring sport, a strong defense strategy can make all the difference. It is not uncommon to lose by one goal, so it's important your defenders know what they're doing. Many people like to think that a strong offense is most important to a team's success, but success actually stems from the defense. The defenders are responsible for feeding the balls to midfielders and offense. The defense is composed of a goalie, a left defender, a right defender, and a center defender. Here are two techniques commonly used by Nike Field Hockey Camp Directors to best defend against attackers.


Marking has 3 different options, all effective if executed correctly. It is important that everyone on your team stays within their mark to ensure that there will always be coverage against attackers.

1. Zone- A zone defense is used when players defend a specific zone on the field. When in this zone they are responsible for defending any players who enter their zone.

2. Man-to-man zone- This type of defense is similar to a zone, but in addition to defending an area, and the players who enter, they must man-to-man defend the players when they enter their zone.

3. Man-to-man- This defensive strategy involves being matched up with a specific player and saying on them the entire time. It is important to not let them get in-between you and the goal or you and the ball. By doing this you will ensure that you can always get to the ball first and stop their goal attempts.

Teeter totter

The teeter-totter method involves all three defenders and it forces the attacker to move through 3 defenders before it can reach the goalie. If an attacker is coming down the right side of the field, the right-side defender will guard the attacker, the center will shift right to be back-up, and the left will shift to the center to be the third defensive player. If the attacker shifts to the left side, the defense line will shift the opposite direction, just like a teeter-totter.

Bonus Tip- Communication

Strong communication is vital when playing a team sport. Everyone needs to be on the same rotation to prevent incoming attackers. Being in the back field allows you to see everything that is going on the field. By relaying the information to teammates up and down the field this allows them to know the gameplan and have a full scope of the game at all times.

As a defender, it is important to do your part and to trust that your teammates will do their job as well. Defenders are vital to a team’s success, after all the best offense is a strong defense. Check out more field hockey tips and drills and get better this summer at a Nike Field Hockey Camp.

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