Attacking Support|”Push on the Ball”

April 29, 2016

As coaches, we all discuss with our players the importance of support play in attack.

The philosophy is twofold: we offer the ball carrier passing options and we can (with good running lines) fix and manipulate the defence to crate or preserve space.

With this rather common knowledge about ‘why’ support is important, it’s amazing how often you will see ‘option runners’ not going right to the line when involved in an attacking phase of play.

This often occurs as players begin to feel they may not receive the ball. This, coupled with the onset of fatigue are certain factors that will affect the effort teammates make to push on the ball carrier.

What is “push on the footy”?

  • It is the effort of a ball carrier’s support (leads and options) that works up to (and sometimes past) the tackle line

In all of my coaching I’ve felt obligated to teach players ‘why’ it’s important to have a good attitude in this area. Younger age groups have proven more challenging with this as many ‘ball watch’ or can’t yet perceive a tangible role ‘off the ball’.

To many it also appears a long way to get back behind the ball again and reload. This is where selflessness is a virtue in your attacking play.

The video below is just one example that you will see week in and week out:

*how long a team can sustain good ‘push’ will often determine attacking potency

The point is, push on the footy is all about effort, not talent.

In fact, there seems to be a theme to my blog posts this past couple of weeks – ATTITUDE!

Coach, I implore you to demonstrate the virtue of strong, sustained effort here as once your players realise this and get a taste of the rewards (as a team) a new world will open up for them. I’d even go as far as showing them some clips such as above to highlight how good push creates opportunities.

By Stuart Lierich