Monday, April 20, 2009

Football Positioning

For the last few weeks, my fellow blogger Thewster has been moaning about my inability to pass the ball to him in our indoor football team. This post is dedicated entirely to him, to both annoy and amuse him, and perhaps, enlighten him. So, Matthew, pay close attention!

Let me first state, that in order to preserve our fragile team morale, I shall endeavor to pass the ball to Matthew in our match tonight, with much higher frequency, in order to prove him right and myself wrong. This stems also from my recent inability to kick the ball further than I can throw Stephen Hawking, and hence my inability to score more than one or two goals per game (a sad statistic for me). Our team has been shy of goals in seasons past, and so I am going to pass to Matthew as often as possible, to push this burden onto him and away from me and my now frail and feeble kicking leg (which has 1 week left in which to redeem itself before I hack it off and hang up my footballing boots for life).

Now, Matthew's reasoning for why it is evident I am wrong in not passing the ball to him is this: when Brian plays, Matthew scores. This is because Brian passes the ball to him. When Brian does not play, Matthew does not score. This is because I do not pass to anyone. Ever.

It is possible he thinks part of the reason for my stinginess on the ball relates to my judgment of him as footballer - I don't pass to him because I don't think he can score, and so I take it on myself. This is not true. I usually don't pass because he is in a position not better than myself, or in a position where we could potentially lose the ball, and so I go for goal (my natural thinking is that if a striker is within striking range of the goal, he should shoot, because that is what he does). I have compiled a diagram, so that one can further understand the concept:

A quick legend - blue dots are defenders, the yellow dot is the keeper, the red dot open on the left is Matthew screaming for the ball, and the red dot with the green dot (ball) is me stingily hogging the ball. Point to note - I'm not sure where the 2 blue dots usually are, but they're roughly there, with the middle blue dot watching Matthew (though not very closely) and the blue dot on the right marking or attempting to tackle me. Now, in this situation, usually I will run along the wing and try shoot and score. Brian will dummy and try pass to Matthew.

There are several outcomes here, as far as I can tell. The obvious one, is that I will dribble and shoot and (due to my recent uselessness) not score. We will then all trudge back and start over. Another outcome, is that Brian (not me, never) will dummy over the ball, pull back and pass to Matthew, who will control the ball and smash it into the back of the net with his left foot. His left foot is more reliable. Another outcome, is that I will do the dummy, and pass the ball to Matthew, only to watch him lose control or the middle blue dot intercept, and have 3 defenders turned strikers rushing past me in the direction of the goal, with myself and Matthew watching Warrick try in vain to stop 2 or 3 defenders while we rush back trying to help.

There are various other outcomes, obviously, but I think these are the most important, because here is where the running and positioning of a player is important. Firstly, unless a player is free of a marker and in a position in which he is virtually guaranteed to get the ball if passed to (i.e. no interceptions), he cannot be static. He needs to be moving to an open space, for one of two reasons:
  • to evade defenders and collect the ball in space.
  • to draw defenders away from a space that can be occupied either by a running teammate or by the man with the ball.
Secondly, because the player with the ball is running, and has his head in a downward position, and was disallowed a spot in the Air Force to be a fighter pilot due to Mild Bilateral Hearing Loss, the open man who is now no longer static, or has moved into a better spot (not standing forlornly near the edge of the keeper's area) has to be screaming like a slut in a gang bang (apologies, this is football, and we are vulgar creatures) in order for the player with the ball to hear them, not muttering under their breath about how they wish Brian was playing.

I think it also bears mentioning that in the same way that myself and Matthew are completely different players (he passes the ball, I don't), myself and Brian are completely different players. This may not seem obvious at first glance, but I assure you it is true. A quick description of the playing styles of myself, Matthew and Brian:

Brian - a midfielder / striker who can dribble and pass well, and score goals. His dribbling style involves tricks and feinting in order to send the player the wrong way.
Matthew - a defender type player who occasionally pops one in the back of the net when going forward (if Brian is playing).
Myself - I'm not entirely sure, but I probably defend better than I attack, and I like shooting from all ranges and angles. I don't dribble particularly well, but I can pass a ball. My dribbling style involves running at pace and changing direction or feinting once before shooting.

The purpose of that, naturally, is to highlight the ability of Brian to dummy and send a player the wrong way in order to drag the ball back and pass, whereas my ability there is not great - I would much rather get the ball at pace and be running at players, as opposed to get the ball and be required to swivel my fancy feet around and create a space out of nothing.

That is part of the reason why it makes Brian more able to pass to Matthew - Matthew is static, and so when Brian dummies, the defender moves out of the way and Brian can pass the ball. When I dummy, the defender looks at me like I'm stupid, so I turn the other way and run fast and shoot and try score.

Having said all of the above, however, I am open to criticism of my play, so tonight I am going to attempt to develop my "sharing" ability and pass the ball more often. I shall also take it upon myself to crap Matthew out when I think he is in an un-passable position, so perhaps his fallout with that action shall create material for a blog post next tomorrow.

All in all, let's hope that we can sort out our issues, and score some goals!

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