Hockey has many different tackles for players to learn, and it is important that they understand when to use them and how best to use them. The key to a successful match lies in every player understanding how to defend and how to tackle, and for younger girls tackles can be confusing. We outline a few more tackles this week for young players to learn.
Double-handed Block Tackle
For this tackle, the player should use a place their hands apart with their left hand at the top of the stick. They should not place the stick down too early, but rather wait until the last moment to tackle. The position of the stick should be at the right angles to the line of the ball, and the player should use the shaft of the stick to control this tackle.
One-handed Block Tackle
This tackle requires the player to use a one-handed grip; your right or left hand at the top of the stick. Players should extend their arm, waiting until the last moment to make the tackle. To perform this tackle successfully, players should jab at the tackler first, then lay their stick flat on the ground, and using the shaft of the stick, drag it to open the stick side of the defender. Players need to have also scanned for available passes in order to make the most of the stolen ball.
NOTES FOR COACHES
It is important that the tackler has good coordination skills and is able to move rapidly when performing these tackles. Below are two exercises you can use with both younger and older players to improve their coordination and speed.
1. Using a tennis or hockey ball, push the ball along a wall and trap the ball on the reverse-stick side (the left side of the body). After stopping the ball on the reverse side, push the ball back against the wall and trap it on the forestick side. Keep them practicing this until players can do it without fault.
2. Grip the stick in both hands, with a normal grip, while standing close to a wall. Using their stick, players must bounce a tennis ball off the wall without letting it fall to the ground. As the player’s skill improves, they will be able to perform this task on both sides of their body, while keeping close control.
If you find that some players are waiting too long in a line for their turn at drills, it is a good idea to divide your players into smaller groups performing the same exercise – this way, nobody will be waiting for too long. You can also set up activity or drill stations with groups taking a turn at each, so that each player gets a turn at every drill.