Saturday, July 20, 2024

How do I become a better hockey defender?

Our resident coaching expert Todd Williams has been giving the best advice for budding juniors since 2017

Q: My favourite player is Hollie Pearne-Webb. How do I become a better defender?

That’s great that you identified such a fantastic defender as Hollie as your favourite player. My first piece of advice would be to watch the as many of the GB games in the FIH Pro League as you can and after that, any game that she is playing in on YouTube. Make some notes on the many good things that you see her do.

I’m sure you’ll find things like her instinct and commitment in her tackling. Hollie is one of the best at reading when and where she either can make a tackle or needs to make a tackle.

And that awareness almost always gets her to the right position quicker than most defenders. After that, you’ll see how strong and balanced she is when tackling, and for that you should look closely at how good her footwork is as she approaches the player with the ball.

As a defender, the other side of your role is helping get the ball forward. Here you’ll see how good Hollie’s flat passing is when the ball is being transferred around the back as the defenders try and create gaps in the opposition’s press.

Most importantly, you’ll also see how she is always looking for the opportunity to pass forward through the first line of players to her strikers and midfielders. That pass is invariably firm, flat and accurate – exactly where her teammate wants it.

Do you want a question answered by Todd? Email or tweet us @thehockeypaper with #asktodd

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