In Floorball, when playing defense means adding pressure to your opponent. Its really the name of the game. If you do not pressure your opponent, you are not playing the game to its fullest potential.
While a key component to the game is being able to hold, and control the ball; another large aspect is the ability to pressure on defense and recover the ball.
The rules of floorball make prohibit attacking the stick of the offensive player through stick checking or stick lifting. Both are common choices in hockey to dispossess your opponent. However, in floorball this would result in a foul (free hit) or potentially a 2-minute penalty. Defensive players are also prohibited from using their stick to reach for the ball between the opponents’ legs. This action would result in a 2-mintue penalty. To dispossess the opponent of the ball there are a few things that can be done while reducing the potential for giving up a free hit.
It’s important to first understand where the ball is on the field as that will determine the amount of pressure needed to be made on the offensive player. Let’s assume the team Red is on offense and team Blue defense. If the ball is in team Blue’s end of the court team Red can choose to be more aggressive when dispossessing the ball from team Blue to create a turnover and a quick counter attack. Since most goals scored tend to fall in this scenario this is one area where it’s safer to give up a potential free hit and makes more sense from a tactical standpoint. If the ball is lost in the offensive zone it is important to stay aggressive and pressure the opponent to create a turnover. Sometimes when players lose the ball their first reaction is to give up on the play or immediately drop back on defense. If the ball is lost players need to make smart decisions on when to pressure, and when to drop back to disrupt a quick counter attack.
If we imagine the roles are reversed now and the ball is in the defensive zone with team blue on defense and team red on offense. This time team Red has the ball in the bottom corner of the court. In this situation, the defense has a variety of decisions to make on how and when to pressure the offense. Depending on where the ball is the defense doesn’t want to give up a goal, or give up a free hit in a dangerous position. On the court, there is an imaginary line that runs between the corner dots and the goal line. Any foul committed in this area will place the ball at the corner making this area a somewhat safer area to give up a free hit if necessary. A player with the ball in the corner is not as big of a threat to score from this position. It is important to no be sucked out of position while pressuring the offense. Defenders near the goal line will likely move back and forth between pressuring the offense and backing off to defend a pass to one-timer shot option.
Every person and every team has differed on how they choose to play tactically, and some players choose to be more aggressive than others. In many cases the choice on how aggressive to pressure the player with the ball will differ depending on the location of the ball, the score, how much time is left in the game, the tactical strategy of the team, and the experience of the player. The key is to be smart about how you pressure the ball so you avoid needless penalties or give up potential scoring opportunities for the opposite team.