Basic Formations

This entails the details of two basic structures you can use in 11-a-side hockey. This is a good starting point for any team and should be understood by all the players.

Back 4

This is a standard shape we could see a team setting up with a back four. We have 2 Centre Backs and a Left Half and a Right Half along the back line. Moving into the midfield we have a Centre Defensive Midfielder (Centre Half) and a right and left Attacking Midfielder (Inner). Finally, for the front line, we have a Centre Forward and a Right and Left Wing.

While the width and position of the players may deviate from the positions indicated in the diagram, it shows the general structure of a 4-3-3 or a standard back 4.

Back 3

Here we see one of the Centre Backs has now moved into the midfield as a second Defensive Midfielder. Thus the positions at the back are now a Centre Back with a Right and Left Half. Moving into the midfield we see two offset Defensive Midfielders in the middle and two Attacking Midfielders. The front line remains the same of a Centre Forward and a Right and Left Wing.

Key differences

As you may have noticed there are some differences between the roles of the players within a back 3 and a back 4.

  • Right and Left halves become more defensive in a back 3. Typically, they will sit slightly deeper and closer to the middle than the more aggressive halves in the back 4
  • Defensive midfielders are now offset from the middle line and sit on different layers
  • Attacking midfielders are wider in a back 3 to allow for the space for the Defensive midfielders to operate
  • Strikers stay the same. However, you may seem more teams play with a deep Centre forward while playing a back 3

It is worth noting that these are the basic positions for a back 3 and a back 4. These should be adapted and modified depending on the opposition and should not be fixed for each player. However, it is a good starting point.

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