Shape of Defense - Middle Up

Post date: Jul 06, 2010 2:11:39 AM

Shape of Defense - 'MIddle Up"

Recognizing the 'shape' of the defensive line is important to knowing the options available to the attacking side.  In this instance, the middle defender is up quicker than his/her teammate destroying the flat defense line.  Instead, the middle defender's action has created a 'V' shape in the defensive line.

The middle defender has created two gaps to either side of him/her.  The attacking players can exploit these gaps:

1. Ball carrier accelerates into the gap behind the middle defender, and off loads to supporting player who was originally marked by the middle player (who is now out of position to make a play on either the ball carrier or support runner(s)).

2. Ball carrier runs up to his/her defender, using up the space allowing middle attacker to get behind middle defender.  Ball carrier then executes a 2 v 1 situation.

The middle defender has essentially created unnecessary pressure for his/her teammate by changing the situation from an even number 3 v 3 to a 3 v 1, immediately followed by a 3 v 2.