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How do I teach my defenders to jump for rebounds?

I coach U11's who seem to expect the ball to fall into their hands rather than jump for it. No matter how much I teach them, they simply don't jump! 

as with every skill, it takes a lot of work from the coach to keep reminding them to change.  a lot of the reason people jump for a ball, is becuase they are hungry for it, and dont want anyone to get it.  but if being hungry for the ball is not a natural desire for the girls, then you have to inspire them to want it.  incentives, always work.  be it a reward for the most jumping revounds, or pushups for those who dont even try.  you can practise building this skill (if you havent already done so) but tossing the ball high up between 1-4 players (simulating a rebound situation in the goal) and get them to jump for the rebound.  the winner gets to chose the punishment.  hope this helps and good luck.  i also spend a lot of time during a game reminding the girls to jump for rebounds.  its slowiy sinking in, but it is a long  process (and my girls are 13-16)

It is good to teach and practice jumping into the catch at this early age and includes down court passing and rebounds.  Young players tend to think feet first then catch instead of the other way round and it can take a while for this to change.  If they learn fast feet then jump to catch this builds fitness, balance and reaction time which will eventually transfer over to the game.  How often do you see young defenders standing still under the goal ring waiting for the rebound with straight legs and arms outstretched which makes it hard to jump.  Work on bent hips, knees & elbows,  weight on balls of feet and some movement ready to spring up rather than being completely still waiting for the ball to drop.  All this incorporated into some fun jumping practice without the ball (e.g. statue of liberty for chocolates, line jumping team relays etc) where you can monitor technique and then step it up to drills that incorporate the ball.  Sometimes when we repeatedly ask players to do something and it is not happening, we need to ask ourselves does the player have the skill we are asking for and understand when to use it, do they get the ball even if they don't jump or do they just have attitude problems? That will then give you some idea on how to encourage skills at training. 

Great advice as always from Lee-anne and Janet. Just wanted to add something I discovered when I looked into this because i had the same problem with my 11 year olds! I would ask my tall players to jump and their feet would leave the ground by only milllimetres, yet the smaller girls would be able to naturally jump much higher? Being as we would select taller girls for defence positions, this is a problem. It appears that smaller girls from a young age have had to learn how to jump to be able to reach to get what they want, whilst taller girls have had the height advantage to be able to reach and have never had to jump, so they haven't learnt how to jump! So we have to teach them. This was soon conquered by getting girls in pairs and throwing a favourite lolly high in the air between them, of course whoever jumped highest got the lolly, problem resolved!

Thank you to Lee-anne, Janet and Nicola.  Very valid points and advice.  I really appreciate your input and I will definitely follow all your advice.

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  • or access our tried and tested plans