The term "win the ball" means to gain possession of the ball, often when it is a loose ball or a ball which the other team also has a chance to win. Winning the ball is very important. The team that "wins the ball" the most usually wins the game. Like in basketball, positioning relative to opponents can increase the chance of being able to win the ball. Hustle, speed, a quick start and not being afraid of contact are also important, especially on "fifty-fifty balls" (i.e., loose balls which either team has an equal chance of winning). For example, if you are on defense, a good strategy is to stay behind the opponent. This will allow you to step in front and steal the ball or to defend the opponent even if he gets the ball. (Whereas if you play in front of the opponent and the ball gets past you, the other team might be able to fastbreak toward your goal). When on offense, good positioning on your team's goal kicks might be to stay beside the opponent so you have a chance to win both short and long balls. If your team controls the ball, you should try to get open for a pass so you don't have to fight to win the ball. Whether on offense or defense a player should always be aware of where the nearest opponent is and if an opponent is nearby the attacker will often run to meet a pass so the opponent can't beat him to it. (See "Attacking", and "Shoulder Charge").
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