The Best Defense is a Good Offense – and Vice-versa

“We’re going to use our Defense in our Offensive strategy.”

Yesterday, our soccer team (6th grade girls) had 2 back-to-back games. The first game was TOUGH because the other team had 3 BIG, MATURE players who we figured were older 6th graders who had already had their growth spurt. We lost that game because of a Penalty kick late in the 2nd half . . . an unlucky hand-ball in the Goal Box.

The 2nd game was different. Our team was controlling the field throughout the 1st half (and leading 3-0). When Coach David sees that we would be running up the score unnecessarily, he decided to use the 2nd half to teach our players some strategy for spreading out the field of play by creating more space AND time with a nifty way to set the tempo and rhythm of play.

The strategy centered around bringing the GOALIE forward on the field to be there as a part of the OFFENSIVE game. This, of course, has some element of risk with the goal being essentially unprotected in the event of the other team’s offense achieving a “Break Away” . . . but it makes COMPLETE sense.

This idea of the best Defense being a good offense has implication that as long as the offense controls the field, the need for a strong defense diminishes. Over time, the true meaning of this phrase has, perhaps, lost much of it’s strategic meaning.

Throughout my training as a US Army Combat Engineer Officer, I consistently got the message that Offensive and Defensive strategies in the Theater of Operations (The Battlefield) were not in any way, shape, or form mutually exclusive strategies. Each relies on the other throughout the Operation.

Folks who haven’t considered the nuances of offense and Defense often think of a defense as being a “Circle the Wagons,” “Batten down the Hatches,” passive effort to hold the line . . . Intended to repel attacks and survive a prolonged siege in anticipation of the arrival of reinforcements. While that may be a sometimes necessary function of Defense, it’s not a viable winning strategic use of the Defense.

The Army taught us some age-old wisdom:

Mao Zedong opined that “the only real defense is active defense”, meaning defense for the purpose of counter-attacking and taking the offensive” from Wikipedia

Develop an ACTIVE DEFENSE which serves as an active participant in the offense. In soccer, it looks like this . . . When the offense is having difficulty penetrating the other teams defense (and getting into striking range of the goal), they often attempt to drive FORWARD FORWARD FORWARD relentlessly but just can’t seem to be able to get the score.

The field of play in this scenario typically consists of a knot of players in the middle battling foot to foot . . . The team protecting their goal has “circled their wagons” and are simply repelling the siege . . . This can be exhausting (and non-productive) for both.

So . . . Let’s incorporate the attacking team’s goalie into the scenario. Goalie comes forward to be prepared to receive a “Drop” pass from the Offense . . . at this point, the ball has left the “knot” and is in a less busy part of the field. The Goalie can stand with the ball and allow the offensive players to re-set themselves . . . which “undoes” the knot in the middle by drawing the opponent’s defensive players into the newly created SPACE on the field.

VOILA! Integrate the Goalie into the Defensive strategy, and the team gains previously unavailable Time and Space . . . and thereby more control.

In our own lives (Personal and Business), I believe we all tend to forget the fact that we have the ability to “Drop Pass” . . . So often, we hyper-focus on PROGRESS and work ourselves to exhaustion trying to maintain forward momentum . . . when what we REALLY should be doing is creating more space and time by PAUSING the game with a simple Drop Pass.

We take a few moments to Breathe and regroup/reFOCUS . . . and we begin anew.

Isn’t this a FUN concept that gives you the SUPERPOWERS of having the ability to create SPACE and TIME?


I like it too 🙂

Thank you for the reminder Coach David.

Published by Barry Owen

Strategist-CEO of Pareto Realty Real estate sales Professional Inviter-Facilitator-Practicer of Open Space Technology Opening safe space for people & organizations to self-organize around issues & opportunities BarryOwen.US Invite-Listen-Love

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