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Any drills to encourage players to move in front of defenders?

My junior squads tend to ask for a ball to be passed to them, even when there is a defender nearby-often resulting in interceptions. I have tried playing bounce pass only games which works really well, just wondered if anyone had any other ideas I could try ?

Hi Jill.  This is a common scenario for junior players until they understand the concepts of how and why they need to get in front or ahead of their player.  Concentrate training on types of leads (teach one type per session), when to use them and timing would be useful but make sure you incorporate your training goals into to some fun games to maintain their interest. Include things such as they must make a prelim move before leading, be in front/ahead to receive a pass, call and lead into space at the same time, always meet the ball rather than wait for it etc.  Most learning players either head down the court away from the ball which can make the passes too long to be accurate and easy to intercept or all head in a straight line towards the ball and crowd. Encourage prelim movement away from the ball and then a cut towards the ball for shorter passes.  Another technique you could incorporate in your training if their footwork skills are ok is, instead of trying to run away from a defender, players can set up close to them and outfootwork/outsmart them than outrun them. Reward any small successes with lots of praise and let them know what it was they did right.

Junior and senior junior players arent always the best for running onto the ball.  many stop to catch allowing an intercept to occur.  As Janet has already suggested prelim moves are a very important skill to attain, so if they are running onto the ball already, then that would be your next step.  if they arent, then this would be your start point.  

the very first drill is just hold the ball out and have them run at you to get the ball and take it out of your hands.  i know it sounds silly, but they need to learn not to stop just because the ball is coming.  you can also do this as two of them running to get the ball from your hands and first there gets it.

once they are happily doing this, then the next step is to start passing it.  you might want to forget about the stepping rule for a few drills to keep them running onto the ball.  you can always fix the stepping part in later drills.  a good way to teach junior players to not stop is to have them hop and catch.  this also encourages them after they have received the ball.  once they are confident doing this, then to help them to not just run away from the ball, but to clear space and then break again, is to have them take a pass, then run to a cone down court, then run forward to get another pass.  you can add a left or right break as a progression.

if you have any more questions please ask.

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  • or access our tried and tested plans