Playing styles

dabanchMany quotes have been used about passing the ball instead of driblling.

A few examples:

`The ball never gets tired`
`Nobody can be faster than the ball`
`You think you are the postman delivering the mail?’ (Spanish expression)

There are some teams that do a lot of running with the ball (dribbling) while others prefer a passing suportive style.

If we look at the international context and associate the styles mentioned above, we can easily identify some countries that are still today are running with ball, immediately we think about India or Pakistan, but also in some European countries like Spain or France (as we saw in the last U21 World Cup). In America, obviously Argentina.

With the pass and support style we identify the leading Germany, Australia and the upcoming BelgiumNetherlands is in my opinion the team that mixes individual and collective the most.
The question is whether this is in the players DNA or it is a coaches choice? Sports culture of each country? Lack of tactical discipline?
There are many questions, which I can not properly answer either for lack of information or because of the doubts they also generate to me.

If we observe the results obtained in the latest major competitions, we should choose to copy the passing model.
This aspect of the game is only part of it as exist countless facets of the game that determine whether or not your are able to obtain good results – defensive styles, PC specialists, type of preparation, players form, motivation etc.

Another thought, careful not to believe that for instance Germans avoid to run, it’s just their team philosophy, tactical discipline; hockey is a team game and especially for them. Some argue that is boring but wins.

The fans still rise from their seats when watching a player dribbling and leaving opponents behind, it is always exciting to watch individual actions that culminate in benefit to the team.

Nobody wants to miss a Pakistan vs India with a frenetic pace up and down just thinking about scoring but they also have changed. For better results you need to have some tactical concerns and defensive discipline.

Only in some countries collective actions are applauded and considered as beautiful as the individual ones. We can find beauty in individual actions and collective actions – ‘Viva la diferencia’! – in the difference we find the fullness of our sport.

Learn to associate the individual aspects to the benefit of the team play seems to be the best combination to obtain greater results.

The world cup is coming so let’s enjoy the game and the different styles.

Let’s celebrate the world cup, let’s celebrate Hockey!

Originally published as “Playing Styles” at