Which is the better offense?

Peter Dittmann   Peter@sanddollarsystems.com says
Seeing as no one seems to be starting a real discussion on the subject I will throw my thoughts out. First you have to look at your question which is a better offense between the 2-3-1 and the 3-3. Do you mean offense or formation because the different formations favour on offensive or defensive style. You also need to look at the kind of players you have. If you have one fullback who can stop anyone consider a formation with one fullback, if you backs are evenly matched go with three backs. If you have a bullet of a forward get them out front with a one up front style. Then you have to consider where your team plays best, against the wall or in the middle of the pool. a 2-2-2 suits the wall where as a 3-3 helps to swing it across the pool. I am sure there are some other views, so lets hear them.

Suave Dave, Palm Beach Underwater Hockey says
The decision to choose between 2-3-1 and a 3-3 really can't be decided in general.  The answer will really be determined by the specific talents of the members of the team. Do you have a really strong defender for the 1?  Do you have 2 forwards who can work together?  Or is your team more even strength that works well covering each other, which might be more toward a 3-3?  Also do you have an agressive team, or a defensive team? Answering these questions will begin to point you toward one strategy or another.  And remember that the answer may change from one game to another based on the players in the water, and the ability of the opposing team.

Electra says
Maybe it's a better question for after worlds! Then we'll have a few examples as to what worked and what didn't in the most recent sense of the various ideas about formations.

Being a NZer, I've always played some form of 2 1 2 1, but it's developed a lot and now I don't know what to call the way I think the game should be played, it's a sort of mix between 2 1 2 1, 7 and 3 3, I think. maybe they've evolved together anyway.

I have only ever had 2 1 2 1 written down for me on paper.

2 2 2 has been proven an excellent defensive play by the Dutch against the S Africans in the last worlds (but they ended up playing 4 a side as a result, it can get a little over friendly I hear) I think the Zimbabweans used it too, and managed to keep the goal count very respectable for their first worlds. A friend of mine (international player) swore the best offensive formation is 4 2. Awesome if you're winning, not so great if you're on the defensive unless your backs are gods.

Basically, there are so many different ideas on the subject and various different ideas about the way each formation is played, I suggest either ask the world champs or figure out out for yourself according to the way your team is structured.

And when it comes down to it, it's not what you play, it's how you play it. The whole thing is it doesn't matter that much in the end, as long as everyone knows where their teammates will be and what their job is. And does it. The trick is to all be playing the same way!

Robert of Holland says
the difference is not in the system, the difference is in the thinking of all players! it is obvious that f.e. 1-2-3 (one forward, two midfield and three defenders) is quite an defending system, but when all these 6 players think offensive, it is even an offensive team. 3-2-1 is very offensive, but if you dont have very strong (swimming) and skillfull forward players you will be very easy to defeat.

l would like to reply more and more specific, but my exam tomorrow needs my attention now. things l would need to know to give a more specific answer are things like: how long does the team plays? how are your stick handling skills, flicking, dummies etc

Kent Andrews, kent-22@juno.com says
There have been some great coaches who have said the same thing.  "The best offense is a great defense."  Keep in mind the fact that in the 3-3 - or any other formation where a back can move up because they are on the strong side - the defenders can score just as much as the forwards.  The defenders can sit back from the play a little and see what's happening
and what to do.  Any formation that has a midfield can be stronger in offense and defense if the mids are strong enough and fast enough to follow the play.  In the forward end of the pool they can play the puck and try to score, and in the defensive end of the pool they can drop back to defend.  The only problem with mids in the defensive end of the pool is two-fold.  Now that the mids are playing like backs, they may dive on each other and take each other out of the play, and the team will have fewer forwards to get the puck to for moving the play away from the goal.  A few people have mentioned 2-1-2-1 and 3-2-1.  It just seems to me like these are variations on the 3-3 theme, just no strong side and weak side.  How about switching your regulars evenly into two teams for a month or two - with one team playing (and practicing) one formation and the other doing a different formation.  Find out which is best for your club. Don't just give up on a formation after one practice.  If played correctly, that team should be able to at least hold their own.  Hope this helps.  I welcome any replies.