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Communication of the ball

Can anyone recommend a drill to get my players talking more during the game as I trying to teach them how important it is to do things off the ball?

Hi Glenn,

I've found having your players take part in small half pitch game (6/7 a side) where you input stipulations is very effective to push communication on your players. Start with the standard stipulations, 3 touch, strong side only etc. but then input that the game must be played in complete silence. Play this for a good 5/6 minutes, and then play a standard game. 
After this call the players in, and ask which they preferred (I would bet my house they'll say the talking one). This gives you the time to then speak about making a connection between players.
Go back into the silent stipulation, and see how players connect in a non-verbal manner, placing the stick where they want the ball, point into space, eye contact etc. Then go back to a standard game and you will see your players combine both verbal and non verbal connections.

Let me know what you think,


Hi Glenn, I’m assuming your concern is communicating when your team is in possession? If this is the case then the problem as Josh states is both verbal and non-verbal. Personally, I prefer players in the field of vision of the ball carrier to use non-verbal communication, particularly if they are “seeking out space behind opponents” as I prefer them not to draw attention to themselves. In these advanced positions ahead of the ball, a positive, well timed lead is required. Positive in this scenario means that the ball carrier wants to see one run as they lift their eyes from the ball, this avoids confusion. What helps so much is if the ball carrier has Pre-Scanned prior to reception and picked up a signal: hand or stick (or read the space the forward is likely to exploit).

Almost as important as Pre-Scanning and signalling is the forwards (or midfield) looking at each other “connecting off the ball” this ensures there runs complement each other. One player may move at an angle towards the ball, whilst another stretches play, threatening to run in behind a marker or into a space between zones. One tip is to ensure the players off the ball point at each other: this makes them constantly check the other players position and increases awareness, a key to good linkages through the team. This can be achieved whenever you run a drill with more than two players. One tip for the coach is to avoid watching the ball and discipline yourself to watch one of the attacking players and ensure they are connecting.

Verbal communication is best left to situations when support arrives from behind the ball: outside the field of vision of the ball carrier. The other time it can be useful is in the tight situations in and around the circle when a sharp call or even a sound can indicate the player has support. When playing Australian teams there are often all sorts of clicks, whistles etc that alert the ball carrier they have support. Quite a surprise when you play against it for the first time!

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