Having good structures and sound technique when defending a centre pass is a crucial part of every netball team’s defensive strategy.
After all, your players will be setting up their centre pass defence after every second goal, so it pays to put some time and effort into ensuring your players know what they’re doing and are on the same page.
With that in mind, here’s a one-hour centre pass session plan with four drills/strategies you can use to build up your team’s ability to shut down whatever the opposition team throws at them.
WARM-UP – 15 MINS
As with any session, the warm-up is critical, and should include the usual array of activation exercises, dynamic movements and stretching.
DEFENSIVE BLOCKING: FRONT STANCE – 15 MINS
Being able to defend an opponent while facing forwards – keeping vision for both the ball and the opponent – is vital to defending a centre pass.
Your players need to be able to shut down or dictate their opponent without turning to face them, as it’s important that they maintain vision of the ball in order to attempt a tip or intercept.
In this drill, we’ll show you the basic positioning, angles and technique that your players will need if they’re to defend from in front effectively.
CENTRE PASS DEFENCE: ONE-ON-ONE – 15 MINS
Making every player responsible for their direct opponent will be many teams’ default defensive setting on a centre pass. And in this part of the session it’s all about creating the building blocks that will allow your players to implement more advanced team-based defensive structures later in the session.
Here you’ll teach your players about positioning and bodywork on and around the transverse line in order to force their opponent’s in a particular space, in order to create opportunities for turnovers or opposition errors.
DOUBLE TEAM – 15 MINS
Now we’ll move into a more team-focused structure: the double team, which is the final step before you implement a “wall” or “3-out” strategy on the centre pass.
Here you’ll be focusing on your C and their positioning in tandem with the WD, in order to create a pocket to trap the opposition WA (or GA, if they’re the dominant receiver on a centre pass).
WALL/3-OUT STRATEGY – 30 MINS
Now let’s put it all together into one of the most effective centre pass defensive strategies – the “wall” or “3-out”.
Here your players will learn how to work as a complete defensive unit to shut down the opposition WA and GA – penning them in in order to shut down those passing lanes and create errors, intercepts, or force the opposition team to pass the ball backwards, which is also a great win for the defending team.
It’s important that your players are prepared to be physical, loud and communicate with each other. There’s nothing more intimidating than a defensive team that’s clearly got everyone on the same page and working together to shut you down!
Best of luck with your session!