Not only does the modern player have to be able to make good decision's on the fly, but they've also got to be able to adapt as the game evolves and circumstances change. There is only so much a coach can help with in a game once the whistle goes and therefore, it's important to layer in these components into practice. Below are three ways you can use 'What If?' type questions/puzzles to challenge your players.
Let's say we're working on the scissor move to beat the defender. The coach has layered in plenty of good info on the distance of the move, the speed of the approach, the use of the body to deceive the defender. But the move doesn't always work. After a while, the defender in your session know's what's coming next - oh look, another scissor! So what next?!
What if the defender doesn't fall for the move - what could you do to still get success?
By phrasing it as a question, the attacking player has to come up with the solution themselves through trial and error or maybe some subtle suggestions from the coach. Have you tried using a shimmy after the scissor move? How about a double scissor?
Change the Scenario
When working on 2 v. 2 defending, the most common principles of play are pressure/ cover. To evolve the practice further consider how you might incorporate the element of delay as well.
What if your second defender is caught out of position or dives in and get's beaten? What do you do next? This is a great opportunity for player's to work on delaying the opponent until the second defender recovers.
Who, What, Where, When, Why, What If?
As mentioned in my previous article (found here), the five W's are great for painting the picture and teaching players all aspects of the technique and how they relate to the real game. What if questions can add to this game understanding and a player's ability to adapt.
At the end of a coaching point when you go live - how many times does the defender mess it up because they've listened to what you want the attacker to do? That's ok, sometimes you can let it happen. What if the defender blocked off that option, what would you do next?!
What if questions can be useful for teaching players to adapt during techniques/moves as well as in their decision making during different scenario's as well as the bigger picture in games where everything is constantly evolving around them. Start adding it to your coaching repertoire: Who, What, Where, When, Why, WHAT IF?