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I have a midfielder that wants to practice defending against lifted balls in a 1-2-1 situation, any ideas for drills that will assist with this?
The problems you have in defending 3D (lifted balls) skills is firstly, hand-eye co-ordination and secondly, reaction time.
If the problem is hand-eye then a tennis ball and a wall is your answer.
If the problem is reaction time then its more a case of knowledge. To use a 3D skill to eliminate, especially round the circle, the dribbler must get in close to an opponent to reduce reaction time before lifting (lifting and diveryting) the ball through a tackler. This technique is performed inside the tacklers reach. The ball goes through the defender.
This is the one time two hands are used to tackle (or intercept the ball in flight) but first we need to make the dribbler lift the ball from too far away giving us time to react. To do this we need to dummy tackle and threaten the ball at arms reach (left hand only on the stick). The player will then lift the ball just out of your reach but by this time you will have stepped back and given yourself a stick length and a step to trap the ball. If you miss it, "back to the wall!"
A high elbow and an upright stick (forming one line) are key at the moment of the tackle.
Whatever you do don't swish or you'll be in the naughty chair!
To help with getting used to picking a lifted ball you can get good use out of a bounce board if your club has them, used in tilt the ball will come up fairly predictably, this will build on Jon's tennis ball work
Yeah, good thought or even a slip catcher ued for cricket.
Playing a game of "french cricket" gets good hand eye co-ordination for lifted balls aimed at feet and shins - just make sure they wear their shinpads.
As a player I have found defending 3 D skills easier when you do not plant your feet and do not approach the attacker with your feet square on, a side profile on the balls of your feet with 2 hands on the stick as Jon specifies makes a huge difference.
If the direction does get changed so the attacker is trying to move to your back then ensure the defender pivots on their back foot. this is to give that defender more time to set and allow the attacker to make a mistake in their skill execution - that is pretty much how I tackle every time I play :)
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