Obviously when you’re on offence, you’re in charge of what happens. You’re free to run anywhere on the pitch, and your defender is forced to react to where you go and to the new threats this opens up. There’s no argument; the offence is in charge.
But then again – what about when you’re on defence? You certainly don’t want to just chase that opponent wherever she goes; rather, you want to take away some of the options and make her do something less threatening. You want to dictate where she goes and where she doesn’t. A good defender – a predictive, aware defender rather than an unthinking chaser – takes charge of the opponent.
So who dictates the play? The answer should be whoever works at it the hardest. Control of the situation is the prize in a constant battle between the cutter and the defender.
Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. If you’re both doing it well, maybe the offence wins more often than not – that’s just the nature of the game.
But what you should never do – and many of us do make this mistake regularly – is accept that the opponent is in charge. If they are dictating to you, you must try to fight back.
If you find yourself keen to dictate on offence but happy to be dictated to when playing defence, you misunderstand your role. You’re giving away the initiative. Do whatever you can to snatch it back.
If you’re playing defence, and you don’t have a clear idea in your head of what you’re trying to take away right now – the in cut? The long cut? The up-line? The cone? – then you’re not really playing defence. Take control. Fight her for the upper hand in your battle of wills.
Remember – no opponent has a divine right to take charge of your game.
You prefer more technical posts than this one? Well, you’ve got two good options. Check out my latest Ultiworld article – and sign up for the URCA conference. Lots of technical stuff coming in my talk tomorrow night… probably too much!