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Defending the Invert

Defending the invert offense requires a coordinated team effort, effective communication, and an understanding of defensive principles. It can be very similar to how you play a two man game, but there are differences to be aware of. The invert offense involves an attackman or midfielder initiating the offense from behind the goal. This is typically done to force a mismatch against a short stick defender. Offenses often look to use this to take advantage of defensive matchups and create scoring opportunities. Here’s a detailed breakdown of how to properly defend the invert offense:

  1. Communication and Matchups:
    • Prior to the game, identify the offensive players who are likely to initiate the invert offense. Assign defenders based on matchups, considering individual strengths and weaknesses.
    • Communication is key. Defenders must constantly communicate with each other to ensure they are aware of the offensive player’s location and movements. Clear and concise communication helps in coordinating switches and slides.
  2. On-Ball Defense:
    • The defender responsible for the player initiating the invert offense should focus on staying between the offensive player and the goal. Apply pressure to force the offensive player to make quick decisions.
    • Maintain good body positioning, staying low and balanced, with an active stick to disrupt passing lanes. Avoid overcommitting to one direction, as the offensive player may try to exploit any defensive mistakes.
    • Maintain a proper defensive distance to prevent the offensive player from easily dodging or getting past you. Stay close enough to apply pressure, but not too close that they can blow by you.
Here the defender does a great job of playing on ball defense.

Defending the Invert – Off Ball

  1. Support and Slides:
    • Defenders adjacent to the on-ball defender must be prepared to provide support and execute timely slides. This helps in preventing easy scoring opportunities and recovering from potential defensive breakdowns.
    • The adjacent defender should be ready to slide and provide support when the offensive player initiates a dodge or makes a threatening move towards the goal. The slide should be timely and decisive, cutting off the offensive player’s path to the goal.
    • Communication is crucial in determining when to slide, ensuring that the adjacent defender understands their responsibility to slide and cover the offensive player.
  2. Off-Ball Defense:
    • Defenders not directly involved in the on-ball or adjacent slide should maintain proper positioning and be aware of the offensive player’s movements. Keep an eye on potential cutters or players setting screens.
    • Deny passes to the offensive player initiating the invert offense. When the offensive player tries to pass the ball, be ready to intercept or disrupt the pass.
    • Stay alert for potential screens or picks that the offense may set to free up the offensive player or create scoring opportunities. Communicate switches or hedge with teammates to effectively defend against these actions.
Syracuse does a great job here communicating between the on ball and off ball shortstick. The Off Ball defender doesn’t bring the pick to the ball which allows them to stay or switch.

Defending the Invert – Recovery and Film Study

  1. Recovery and Transition:
    • If the invert offense is successfully defended and the ball is turned over, quickly transition from defense to offense. Maintain an organized and controlled transition to prevent fast-break opportunities for the opposing team.
    • Recover to your assigned defensive positions to reset the defense and be prepared for subsequent offensive possessions.
  2. Practice and Film Study:
    • Regular practice sessions focused on defending the invert offense are essential for players to develop their skills, understanding of defensive principles, and coordination as a unit.
    • Study game footage of successful defensive performances against the invert offense to identify effective strategies, positioning, and communication.

Stopping the invert offense requires discipline, communication, and a solid understanding of defensive principles. By implementing these strategies and practicing them consistently, teams can effectively disrupt the invert offense and limit scoring opportunities.