The number two will have many of the same responsibilities as the number one, but the emphasis will be a lot less on scoring, and more on feeding the ball up to the number one, should he be open. The number two will have to be well mounted because he will be chasing down balls and guarding the opposing number three.
On offense, with the ball, the number two will either be looking to pass it up to his number one, or shout to his number one “take the man” and take the ball to goal himself. He will have the most opportunity to take risks. In contrast to the number three, the number two is able to take more risk, offensively, because he’ll be back up by two teammates, instead of one.
On defense, the number two will often switch back and forth between guarding the opposing number two and number three, depending on where his own number three is. Just like with the number one, if the number two can effectively disarm the opposing number three, who will generally be higher handicapped, he will be able to earn that number of goals for his team.
In addition to fluidly switching places with his number three, the number two should also be able to switch positions with his number one.
He must be well mounted, to be able to get to the ball quickly. He would have the courage to really push the opposing number three, and have excellent mallet work. He should practice making shots at difficult angles, dribbling, and should be able to hit the long ball consistently. The longer he can hit consistently, the farther up the number one can be for a pass, stretching out the offensive play.
The biggest mistake the number two has to be careful of committing is being suckered out of position. It can be easy for the number two to get caught up in playing defense. If he does, he will miss a well-placed backhander by his number three or four, allowing the opposition to pick up the ball.
Some exercises to help improve your Number Two play:
- Throughout the chukker, mentally keep track of your number one and number three. You should be able to know their position on the field without having to look for them.
- Take time dribbling.
- Play keep-away with a friend. When play turns into pig-sticking, the one with the quickest wrist will be able to win the ball.
- Practice turning the ball from the corners of the field and taking it to goal.