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Skills & Drills: Zig-Zag Defensive Approach

Florida Launch defender Tucker Durkin is known for his explosive defensive on ‘Durkin Island’. His style of defense is known for disrupting the opposing team’s offensive flow.

Tucker shares one of his go-to drills, the Zig-Zag Defensive Approach, below. It’s one he learned in high school, and used throughout his college career at Hopkins. It reinforces a crucial component to playing solid one-on-one defense: good approaches.

Get Started:

- Set up three large triangles and three small triangles with cones, or with any landmarks you have available.

- The triangles should be connected to one another and stretch down the field about 30 to 40 yards. The first 3 triangles should be 8 yards by 8 yards, and the next three triangles should be about 4 yards by 4 yards.

Step 1: Start at the bottom corner of the first large triangle, then explode up to the point of the triangle and break down in an athletic stance as you approach with your stick out.

Step 2: Back pedal quickly and sprint to the opposite base of the same triangle.

Step 3: Repeat. Follow the same sequence for the next two large triangles and then the three small triangles.

- Large triangles: Focus on longer approaches or a situation where you are forced to run out to your offensive player before he makes his move to the goal.

- Short triangles: Focus on shorter, choppier steps where you only have to travel a short distance to close the gap between yourself and the opposing player.

Zig-Zag Drill Tips

- As you get closer to the point of each triangle it is crucial that your steps become shorter and shorter so  you can properly breakdown in an athletic stance and brace yourself for the offensive players’ initial move.

- Complete the drill with a sense of urgency – you cannot do it at half speed.

- Focus on your footwork and being as low to the ground as possible for every approach.

- You should be in an athletic stance with your knees bent as your transition from each approach to a quick pedal to the eventual sprint to the opposite low cone.

Check out more training tips from STX athletes here.