Here are some ways to help your players develop their intercepting skills.
1. Play directional games
To make a game directional, you need to include something or somewhere for your team to aim at. This can be as simple as a goal, an end-line or a target player.
When delivering directional games, try using a small-sided format (e.g. 3v3 or 5v5) and set your players a challenge. For example, “instead of tackling, try to intercept a pass” or “can you take advantage of your opponent’s mistakes?”. This will help get your team thinking in the right way.
2. Get creative
To learn about intercepting, it can be helpful to explore its use in other sports. So, when you’re working with your team, don’t be afraid to think outside the box. For example, try playing basketball or other ‘ball in hand’ games. Tag is also a great way to introduce and practise basic concepts.
3. Provide encouragement
First: make sure that your players know that intercepting is skilful. This will help motivate them to engage with your practice.
Next: keep an eye out for good play. For example, if you notice an individual attempting to intercept – let them know. And don’t forget goalkeepers, who may cut-out crosses or sweep-up behind the defence.
Finally: accept the fact that players get things wrong. If you make your sessions a safe place to fail, your team will feel able to try new things and develop their skills.