In sports, set plays are designed to give the athletes a course of action so that they know where they should be and what they should do at certain times throughout the course of a match. They are meant to be executed to specific expectations. And, if everything goes to plan, the coaches and players already know what the desired result should look like.
Set plays work…some of the time. But you can’t count on running set play after set play or else the defense will start to figure you out.
Instead, the great teams count on audibles, adjusting the plays according to what their opponents are doing. This can be seen in sports like Football. In other sports, like Hockey, Soccer, Basketball, and Lacrosse, the athletes learn principles and count on spacing. The flow of action is so constant that there usually isn’t time to set up a play and run it. The athletes depend on basic, if/then principles. Ex: “If a teammate has the puck/ball and is in the center of the field of play, then I need to be an x distance away to give him/her the best opportunity to make a good decision.”
When you play with the same group of people over and over, you build camaraderie, trust. Pretty soon you know what your teammates are going to do before they do it.
Set plays my lay the foundation for a good team, but in order to be great, an unselfish attitude and a relentless focus on fundamentals are key.