Defense Drill #2: Monkey In The Middle (“Sticks Up”)
- Demo (1 min): Sticks Up
- Arrange players into groups of 3, in a straight line, with the outside players approximately 15 metres apart.
- *Variation #1 (10 min): The player in the middle runs continuously back and forth, with their "stick up," trying to knock down and/or pick-off passes being made by the outside players. The middle player should also mix in different footwork patterns at the coach's discretion: running forward (Variation #1A), “side-shuffling” both directions (Variation #1B) and "back-pedaling" (Variation #1C). Note: This drill is for the defender and outside passers should deliberately try to pass the ball through the defenders stick.
- For the back-pedaling variation, the player in the middle should stop 2-3 metres short of the players on the outside, and those players should only pass the ball once the player in the middle has started back-pedaling.
- Each player should take two turns in the middle, at 30 second intervals.
- Encourage outside players to mix up their “release point,” throwing the ball on different angles (bounce passes, side-arm & underhand) and in other creative ways.
- Outside players are not permitted to throw "lob" passes, as the purpose of the drill is primarily for the defender to practice "knocking down" passes.