All three players in a team have defensive responsibilities and must try to stop the ball going over their goal line as it comes towards them.
There are three distinct stages involved in defensive technique:
The Ready Position
Forming A Barrier
Covering The Court
1. The Ready Position
The recommended one to start with is crouching on the toes with the fingers just resting along one of the lines of the court. This allows a quick transfer to the ‘barrier position’.
2. Forming a Barrier
When forming a barrier, players should:
Stretch out along the line which their fingers were on
Have straight legs with one leg above the other
Have their arms stretched out beyond their heads with the hands facing where the ball is coming from
Aim to stop the ball with their thighs or midriff
Protect their face by tucking it behind one of their arms
3. Covering the Court in Defence
All players need to be able to defend. With experience players learn to tell where the ball is coming from and where it is going to and they have to respond by putting themselves between the ball and the goal they are defending.
It is usual for the centre player to play the major part in defence with the two wing players playing a supporting role.
To improve their defence players should:
Try to be a firm wall
Aim to position the whole body along the line the fingers were on in the ‘ready position’, preferably straight. Certainly not banana shaped (if anything slighly saucer shaped), in readiness to collect the ball up quickly
Aim to position the hands in a catching position for the ball – this may be helped by the coach pushing the ball gently against the hands of the players so that the player gets the correct roundness and size of the ball
Aim to position the top leg over the bottom leg but not resting on it. It should be high enough to stop the ball being able to jump over the legs but not so high that the ball can go through the gap between the legs
Realise just how long the players are when they are in the straight defensive position to give the player a better chance of defending the ball
One way of teaching the straight defensive position of the body is to lie face down with the arms stretched out in front palms downwards, legs stretched out behind and simply roll onto the side while maintaining the relationship between the hands, body and legs.