By: Ricardo Azevedo
As covered in the first installment, counter attacks are very important for team success. In this second installment, I will outline the top, perimeter or outside positions of the counter attack.
When the ball is shot from these positions, the counter attack takes the form of a fast break, with 1 on 0, 2 on 1, or 3 on 2 , opportunities that have a much higher percentage of success for the offense (as mentioned in the first installment). It is also important to note that offensive players must also remain aware and recognize the needs of the defense.
The success of this type of counter attack is more individual, with anticipation on the part of the perimeter players being the most important. Another major factor is the outlet pass by the goalie, since a mistake of a couple of inches can be the difference of a goal or create a missed opportunity.
As players position themselves for this fast break, it is important to understand the concepts of “time and space”. The angles of passing and quick recognition will determine success, but players must be careful not to have “tunnel vision” and only think about the goal. Sometimes an athlete’s best opportunity is behind him, and he should maintain his head in a swivel and continue to communicate with his teammates.
The number one problem with this type of counter attacks is bad passing. I recommend that a player get his legs below himself, finds his teammate, and executes the pass. It doesn’t pay to be tricky and fancy—players should just focus on the play they have practiced hundreds of times in training.
Last but not least, the players on the back, bottom or first line must remain aware of what is happening, as they are arriving late to the offense and must read and adjust accordingly if the counter attack is not successful.