06. Underwater Hockey Zones

The pool is divided into 3 zones/thirds; defensive, mid and offensive.

Teams move through these zones in a diamond pattern. Move the puck to the wall in the defensive zone, up the middle on the wall and then towards their goal in the offensive zone. Here's an example path the puck might take from one goal to the next:

Defensive Zone

You never want to bring the puck into the shaded red area in the defensive zone. Usually, when a defender brings the puck into this area, it's called "clearing to the goal" and usually results in the other team scoring. All movement should be away from this area into the white areas in the defensive zone. If you want to get rid of the puck, chuck it into a corner or along a side wall, but never throw it over the middle while in the defensive zone!

In the defensive zone you can take the puck towards the corner but you are best served to angle it up the wall quickly before getting stuck in the corner. Keep the puck moving forward and away from the goal. If your team is in trouble, has a penalty, needs to kill the clock (i.e. you have the lead and the clock is winding down), or someone is subbing out then the corner is your friend.

Offensive Zone

In the offensive zone, you do not go into the corners or head for the corners. This is where the other team wants you to be, you need to be swimming towards the goal. A team scores “in the goal” not “on the wall” or “in the corner”.

Your first move/instinct in the offensive zone should be to go towards the goal. Always check towards the goal and steer towards the goal. Don’t get pushed to the corner and don’t ever swim towards a wall or the corner in the offensive zone. If the other team has possession and goes to the corner then the forward on that side needs to get the puck out. The only person who should go into the corner is the forward on that side - otherwise everyone gets out of position and frequent 2 on 1s develop going the other way.

If the puck ends up the corner, don't try to just ram it down the end wall  (the wall with the goal) into the goal. The hardest path to the goal is from the corner down the end wall so always try to bring the puck out on a 45 degree angle from the corner, passing to the closest back on your team. The back then has many options for their next move. Assuming the back shoots/passes, all the forwards and another back should follow the shot and make sure it goes into the goal. 

The extra players who are not directly involved in play around the goal should position themselves so the other team's defenders can't clear the puck away from the goal. They do by lining up in positions where they can force the play back towards the goal. For example, if a puck battle is occurring right on the lip of goal, but there is no room for the outside forwards, the outside forwards should line up right on the edges of the goal, parallel with the end wall. This way, if a defender ends up getting it clear of the crowd and tries to clear it to the corner, one of the outside forwards can stop the defender, force the puck back to the middle, and possibly score. 

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