Monday Morning Bike Polo Strategy: J Block

J block (6)

Bike polo strategy is often maligned by those who think the two are oxymorons. You go out, you hit the ball around until you get it in the goal, or you curse a lot and get drunk.

And we all know how fun that particular strategy is.

But let’s–just for the sake of Monday fun–say that you want to work on some strategerie for your next pickup day or tourney. Well, why not try this mediocre-ly named strategy I’ve often seen a few of our top level players pull off in pickup (often on me, and often resulting in my hopping off my bike and chasing someone down like an anamorphic toad):

I say, give me back that ball, ye douche!

I say, give me back that ball, ye douche!

The setup is simple: the opposing team has possession and you want to get that ball away from them. While this is generally the aim of most games (getting the ball away from the opposing team), this little maneuver can help you do so quickly while at the same time eliminating a potential threat to the scoring teammate.

Just a note: this whole move is really a matter of seconds – don’t let the slowness of showing how it’s done make you think it takes half of the game. Also note that I’ll be using Tagamigrams™.

1. The required setup: 

J block (1)

The opposing player has the ball, there is a teammate in pursuit, and you’re in a position to help strip the ball (represented here by the fellow hanging out about midcourt.

2. First Moves

J block (3)

First, the opposing player (in this case) gets the ball off the wall. The trailing teammate is still in hot pursuit. You begin by moving behind the play so you can properly spring the trap without making the opposing player aware of your shenanigans.

3. Swing In

J block (4)

You begin your tricky little maneuver. As you can tell, this requires some previous understanding with your teammate to prevent some sweet bike on bike action.

4. The Tricky Part

J block (5)

 

The reason this works well off the wall is because, generally speaking, people slow down a little bit when digging the ball off the wall. This will hopefully  give you time to get in front of the opposing player to get on their mallet side (again, this should happen fast on your part).

5. Strip The Ball

J block (6)

You got around the opposing player – awesome! Now you’ve got to strip that ball from them (since you’re close to the wall, you don’t have to get control here. Try to instead just push  the ball so it hits the wall. Your teammate will either be able to push the ball along for you or you’ll be able to retrieve it yourself.

 

6. The Block

J block (7)

The opposing player has two options: follow you or continue with momentum. If they try to make a full turn towards you they’ll lose any speed they had, rendering them useless. Chances are they’ll try to turn left, and that’s where they bump into your teammate who is already setting the pick.

7. Make the shot

 J block (8)

 

So you’ve got the ball, the opposing player is blocked, and you’ve just shifted the entire momentum of the game back to your team being on offense. In theory the blocking teammate can now swing in to get the pass, get the rebound, or to generally cheer you on.

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