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Defensive Strategies and Tips for Field Hockey

Hockey is a low-scoring game, so the defensive team plays a significant role in protecting the goal for those few potential shots. The defensive is comprised of four players; the goalie, the

left defender, the right defender and the centre defender. A strong defensive team can lead to success in games.

Here are some strategies and tips for yourself and the defensive team to be a strong component on the field.


Observe the game

From your position on the field, you need to be able to read the game. This means analysing your opponents’ tactics, but also knowing when to make an interception and when to hold off.

Put the pressure on

Keep the space between you and the attacker close. This will force them to make mistakes as it’s harder to pass.

Then, choose your moment to steal the ball.


Being organised is crucial when defending to ensure there are no vulnerable spots on the field. This requires strong communication between you and your teammates to know where and who to defend, and also which strategy you want to roll out.


1 v 1

1v1, or otherwise known as Man-on-Man, involves matching up to a particular player for the entirety of the game. When playing this defensive strategy, always try to position yourself between the attacker and your own goal.


Zone involves having certain sections in the defensive area of the field. When using this strategy, it is your job to defend that particular section, no matter which attacker enters. This strategy is useful as it provides structure throughout the game.

Teeter totter

This strategy requires a lot of communication. Much like zone, it involves the players to have a particular section, but this includes more movement. Using the three defenders, if an attacker is moving down the left side of the field, the left side defender will stick to the attacker. Then, the centre defender will position themselves in the left zone, and the right defender will move to the centre zone.

Subsequently, if the ball is passed to the other side of the field, the defenders shift themselves to the right.


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