Game Sense: Understanding Running Patterns and Reading the Play

May 09, 2024

Mastering running patterns and reading the play can significantly elevate a player's performance on the field. These two fundamental skills not only enhance individual gameplay but also contribute to team strategy and cohesion.


Understanding Running Patterns:

Running patterns in AFL refer to the predetermined movements players make on the field to create space, support teammates, and ultimately, gain possession of the ball. These patterns involve strategic positioning and quick decision-making, making them essential for both offensive and defensive play.


  1. Leading: Effective leading involves sprinting into open space to receive a pass from a teammate. Whether it's a forward leading towards goal or a midfielder breaking away from opponents, mastering different types of leads – such as the "straight lead" or "hook lead" – can keep the opposition guessing and create scoring opportunities.


  1. Switching: Switching play involves rapidly changing direction to move the ball from one side of the field to the other. By recognizing when to switch play and executing timely switches, players can exploit gaps in the opposition's defense and create new attacking opportunities.


  1. Creating Overlaps: Overlapping occurs when a player runs past a teammate with the ball to provide support and create a numerical advantage. This strategic maneuver confuses defenders and opens up space for the ball carrier to advance towards goal or find a free teammate.


Reading the Play:

Reading the play in AFL requires players to anticipate the movement of the ball and the actions of their opponents. It involves analyzing the flow of the game, understanding positional cues, and making split-second decisions to gain an advantage.


  1. Awareness of Space: A player's ability to read the play begins with spatial awareness – the understanding of where teammates, opponents, and open space are located on the field. By scanning the field and assessing potential threats and opportunities, players can position themselves effectively to intercept passes or provide support.


  1. Anticipation: Anticipating the trajectory of the ball and predicting the next move of opponents allows players to react quickly and make proactive decisions. Whether it's intercepting a kick, spoiling a mark, or tackling an opponent, anticipation is key to gaining possession and controlling the game's momentum.


  1. Communication: Clear and concise communication among teammates is vital for reading the play effectively. By vocalizing their intentions, calling for the ball, and providing verbal cues, players can coordinate their movements and execute strategic plays with precision.


By honing these skills through practice, observation, and teamwork, players can elevate their performance, outsmart their opponents, and contribute to their team's success on the field.

Ready to take your AFL game to the next level? Book a session with one of our private AFL coaches today and experience training sessions to help you reach your full potential on the field. Don't wait, start your journey to success now!


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