What's the best way to beat a zone defence

What's the best way to beat a zone defence

What's the best way to beat a zone defence

Sonia RobertsCoach, Australia
Netball CoachCoach

Players may or may not know a defensive zone has been set up.  In my experience attacking players would need to counteract with explosive drives onto the ball causing the defenders to move, hopefully drawing them away from their zone.  Quick movement is paramount.

Netball CoachCoach

Attacking players need to move to the defense players first then make a sharp change of direction towards the ball.

LauraCoach, England

A typical zone would be using the diamond formation (at least as far as I'm aware).  If it is that formation that is used, the best way to get through it is to have one of the girls driving through the middle of the diamond, acting as a 'draw' for all the defenders. The will instinctively all draw towards that player, leaving space for others around the outside.

Janet Coach, Australia

We don't often see a zone being played in our comp and usually only in goal third which can cause much confusion and loss of confidence.  It can help for attackers to man up on zone to neutralise effect and hold space but all the attackers must be communicating well & quick to react as a team to the situation.  If even one player is not with the program this strategy is likely to fall apart.

Lee-annes NetballCoach, Australia

whether im playing defence or shooter, i use a zone to keep my player away from the goal.  as already pointed out the best way to beat a zone of any kind, is quick feet, and change of direction away from the ball, and then a strong drive to the ball.  from a standing position, keeping moving on your toes, keeps your opponent guessing about the direction you are about to head off to, and then doing a fake or double fake workds a treat.  most prelimiary moves should help beat a zone defence.  mind you, i have seen some zone defence using more than one defence player, and then generally the only way out is to use one of your own players as a block, or shield to do a quick side step around.  good luck.

Tracy GettsCoach, Australia

Depends on what type of zone you are talking about.

Traditionally in Australia (read - "in the olden days") zoning was the act of keeping someone out of a space and we used to call it "zoning out" and that is what Lee-annes Netball is talking about with zoning her shooter away from the post.  The best way around this is use short fast changes of direction, make your defender commit to a direction then quickly change. Needs good understanding between passers and receivers so the receivers understand when they are actually free and also so the passers don't pass to early, before the final move comes. Front cuts and strong splits work pretty well against this in the circle.

The other type of zone is the NZ style of defence, where players are defending a space. They block and shadow players that come into "their" space and the whole formation "slides" with the attack in a similar way that sliding defence works in football and rugby (if you're familiar with those). One advantage of zone defence is that it can lead the attackers into a false sense of security thinking they're in clear space so they take their foot off the pedal or start asking for the ball standing still, then in comes the defence for the intercept. In my opinion the best way to break a zone is for all the driving players to drive straight towards the defender first and go RIGHT up to them (which is a little counter intuitive), which pulls them out of the zone and into one-on-one defence - then you drive away from them, front cut them, roll around etc etc - pull out whatever you have in your attacking repertoire .

The leads need to come a little earlier than normal to account for the time it takes to get to the defenders, since this is not really a lead for the ball itself, those real attacking moves for the ball come after you've pulled the zone into one-on-one.

Hope that helps!

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