High Ball catching is a vital skill for the wings and fullbacks to have, thus practising catching the ball under various amounts of pressure is the best way to prepare for a match.
Practice catching in all kinds of weather, especially when it’s wet and windy. Perfecting this skill in those conditions and under pressure will ensure you become better wings.
The Key Factors:
- Anticipate where the ball will land and move towards this target area
- Keep your eyes on the ball
- Assess whether the ball can be caught by staying on the ground or by jumping into the air to catch it
- Time the jump to meet the ball in the air
- Position side-on to the opponents
- If contesting in the air, jump with the front knee bent to ninety degrees
- Extend the arms above the eyes in the direction of the ball; elbows together with soft hands, fingers spread and little fingers almost touching
- Call loudly ‘MY BALL!’
- Watch the ball into the hands
- If you are on the ground catch the ball at eye level, guiding it into the hands, arms and eventually into the body
- If in the air catch the ball above your head, guiding it into the hands, arms and eventually into the body
- Brace the body in anticipation of opponents tackling the catcher by taking a strong stance, slightly turned at +/- 45 degrees away from the opposition with the ball in a secure position.
1) Start by throwing the ball into the air yourself, get your hands, body, eyes and legs in the right position before you advance. Make sure you catch using both your strong and weak side for all the drills
2) You can then either kick it yourself or have someone kick the ball upwards (not too high to begin with) and practice getting everything right before you advance
3) Then you can start to add pressure by having someone running at you, slowly at first then faster, until you get to full match like situation. (just be careful and follow the laws properly, you cant touch a man in the air!)
4) After the actual catch has been perfected, you can then practice returning a strategic kick back or you can make a situation where you and your wings are up against 2 defenders and then practice counter attacking after catching the kick successfully.
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