1. Since this game is new, just shooting at a goalie is exciting to kids. Allow sufficient time before class or tournament games to allow them to do so. Let spectators shoot at halftime of tournament games. Have them concentrate on shooting for corners, working on bounce shots to confuse the timing of the goalies, learning to shoot with both hands, flying over the line, etc. rather than taking the same shot all the time.
  2. Goalie CANNOT pass the ball to a teammate on the other side of half-court at any time. Enforce this. This will eliminate defensive players from “hanging” after a goal in an “offsides” position for easy fast break opportunities. It also forces the goalie to work on his/ her dribbling skills.
  3. Remind defensive players of the unique difficulty in guarding left-handed shooters. In all my years of teaching and watching the game, “leftys”  have always been an unusually strong offensive threat.
  4. Defense is the key to winning Speeedball. An open shot on a wide net is almost like a basketball layup. Working hard and restricting the amount of clear shots by the offense is vital to any winning effort.
  5. In tournament play, rest your better players when a large margin is reached and save them for the end of the game when defense and endurance are vital.
  6. This game is NOT like basketball, in the sense that you can stall by dribbling and/or constantly going to the foul line. Aggressiveness is rewarded in Speeedball. There are no “ticky tack” or light touching fouls. Don’t dribble a lot ! Good teams pass the ball frequently and avoid losing it. Losing the ball in open court leads to fast breaks and easy scores.
  7. Man-to-man defense is impractical. A solid zone defense, guarding the perimeter of the shooting area with 5 players and sliding with the movement of the ball is essential. In addition, a simple 4-man zone, with another player personally guarding or “chasing” the opponent’s top scorer or playmaker is very effective in controlling or limiting an opponent’s attack, a “box and 1” type principle.
  8. It is human nature for the offense to relax after scoring a goal. However, all that effort can be erased in a second if teams fail to immediately get back and set up their defense to deny a fast break.
  9. Goalies who can shoot and dribble are invaluable on power plays and fast break outlet passes. Have them work on those skills in addition to their goal-keeping duties.
  10. Pick and rolls, screens, boxing out, etc. are as important in this game as in basketball. Freeing shooters for open shots is a key ingredient for all offensive squads.
  11. Boxing out the offensive team and the shooter himself/herself limits shots on goal. Multiple shots following rebounds ultimately result in goals.
  12. Successful teams usually have players with diverse attributes – An excellent goalie, some players willing to hustle and dive for loose balls and play aggressive defense, a scorer or two and players with good passing and dribbling skills to advance the ball rapidly upcourt.
  13. Tell teams to work on what they will do with a man advantage or disadvantage. It must be practiced to be effective.
  14. Screening the goalie on offense looks great, but remind teams of the problems encountered when the shot is missed, the other team fast breaks and your “screener” can’t get back quickly enough to cover his/her section of the zone.  If you’re playing a “box & 1”, never let your best defensive player (the one who is shadowing their top scorer) be your offensive screener.
  15. Emphasize the need to stay out of foul trouble. Non-releaseable fouls are a killer. You’re playing short, so even when or if you hold the opponent scoreless, it wears you down physically.

Finally- Speeedball is an excellent conditioner for ALL sports and a great change of pace for teams on a rainy day. It combines the speed, lateral movement, team defensive psychology, conditioning, etc. for success in other activities. Sell the other coaches in your building on the idea. It will help add a new “wrinkle” to what can be a long regular season !



As seen in the August 2008 issue of Scholastic Coach


2009 New Game of the Year

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