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The Defender Step Up Drill works on establishing body position on an attacker and making contact with her. As the cutter drives through the 8 meter area, the defender works to disrupt her cut by stepping across her path and turning her instead of just escorting her through the 8 meter. Good attackers will attempt to make multiple cuts if they are denied a lane by a defender. In this drill, defenders work to disrupt as many cutting attempts by the attacker as possible and dictate what the attacker can do inside the 8 meter area.
Description of Drill-Execution
The drill sets up with four lines, two lines on each of the points of the 8 meter area (the 3 spot and the 6 spot). Place a cone 4 meters off of the point where the players waiting to do the drill can stand and not be in the way of the drill when it is running, these two lines will be the attacker lines. There will be two more cones set up just off the intersection of the goal line extended and the 8 meter area. These cones should be placed about 1 yard inside that intersection. These cones are the spots the attackers are driving toward. The defenders should establish lines outside of the 8 meter area just below the attacker’s cones. As the drill runs, players should alternate playing the attacker and the defender roles and work from both sides of the 8 meter area.
- Defensive Position
- Defensive Footwork
Variations/Progression/Increased difficulty (As your players improve their skills incorporate the following…)
Progression 1—Defenders “step up” to the attacker and establish contact
The defenders do not use their sticks in this first progression. This is to encourage the defenders to play defense with their feet and not have them rely on their sticks so much. The attackers are allowed to use their sticks. A1 cuts toward the low cone looking to get a feed from that spot. D1 starts a few steps inside the point of the 8 meter area. As A1 comes in at full speed driving toward the low cone (as if to receive a pass from that spot), D1 steps up toward A1 and then uses breakdown steps to lock on to A1. Defenders must establish legal body contact by locking their elbows, making controlled contact with A1 and putting themselves in a position to dictate where A1 can go. The coach should allow this to run so the attacker can make multiple cuts and the defenders can focus on playing defense with their feet and making contact with the attacker.
Progression 2—Add sticks
Defenders add sticks and they try to turn the attacker. A feeder is set up in the 1 and 2 (hotspots) spots to make this more game like. After they lock on, defenders try to turn the attacker and deny their cut though the 8 meter area.