As coaches we may ask our players to tightly defend on the centre pass but do we really give them strategies to do this?
Defending a centre pass can be fun. The reason I say that is because so many teams don’t bother with strategy so to my way of thinking, if my team can pick up possession on the oppositions centre pass more points for us…..easy.
Firstly, a good start for any team is for all the players to start on the inside of their opposition player. Why? Well this pushes them to lead on the diagonal, towards the sideline so getting them away from that middle corridor that can slice through a defence end.
Secondly, the GA and WA are kind of renowned for lazy defence. Include them in the defence of the centre pass by getting them to sprint up and confuse the oppositions space. If anyone out there watches the West Coast Fever, I noticed the GA and WA nearly always break, and actually do break, to get up and help out the defence on defence of the centre passes.
Where does the Centre stand on the defence of the centre pass? Make sure the Centre changes it up and doesn’t always have the same starting position. For example, she/he could start by putting hands over the ball first centre pass then the next centre pass they could drop back on the WA. The idea is to always make the opposition uncomfortable and have them change their tactics forcing an error. Also if the Centre does drop back on a WA or GA then after the ball is released and if not intercepted then a switch could be called by either the WD or GD, meaning the Centre takes the WA and my WD takes the Centre. More pressure means they will cough up ball.
When practicing the defence of the centre pass also make sure you practice transition. I promise you ball will come your way but if you don’t have your team practicing the change of momentum then they can throw it away and too much effort has gone into forcing the error to just squander possession.
I love defence. It enables your team to gain confidence and allows the players to take some risks and not stick to safe Netball. More possession also takes the pressure of the goalers/shooters so the game doesn’t always hinge on goal for goal.
As semis and finals heat up in Oz and NZ, get to it coaches and have your team apply pressure on the oppositions centre pass.