Coaching the Block Down in Football and Hurling

The Block Down in Football is one of the harder skills to coach effectively. There is a fear factor for children and there is a safety factor that coaches need to be conscious of.

A simple method of coaching the Block Down is to break down the skill and coach elements of it over a large time frame, so rather than being told to “just block him down” we can now give children gradual instructions to build up their technique and confidence over several years. Children can start at stage 1 from as early as possible and progress with ability throughout the year/s. 1 minute of this every week at training will lead to competent and confident skill execution from the children.

How to Coach the Block Down in Football:

  • Stage 1: Child kneeling down with a ball in their hands. Child bounces the ball on the ground and as the ball in coming back up, they push the ball down and hold it into the ground.
  • Stage 2: Child standing up with ball in their hands. Child bounces ball on the ground and as the ball is coming back up, they bend down, push the ball down and hold it into the ground.
  • Stage 3: Child stands beside a coach who is standing up and holding the ball. The coach solos the ball and the child try to trap the ball onto the coaches’ foot by pushing the ball down.
  • Stage 4: Child stands beside the coach who is standing up and holding the football. The coach stands 5m from a wall/net and gives a light kick. The child leans in and blocks the ball onto the coach foot.
  • Stage 5: Child is now competent and confident at blocking down the ball

3 Key Teaching Points:

  1. Keep the eyes on the ball
  2. Keep hands close together
  3. Step in close to the kicker

 

 

The Block Down in Hurling is one of the harder skills to coach effectively. There is a fear factor for children and there is a safety factor that coaches need to be conscious of. If teaching children to strike the ball from their hands, they also need to coach the Block Down so children’s safety is not threatened in Games.

A simple method of coaching the Block Down is to break down the skill and coach elements of it over a large time frame, so rather than being told to “just block him down” we can now give children gradual instructions to build up their technique and confidence over several months/years. Children can start at stage 1 from as early as possible and progress with ability throughout the year/s. 1 minute of this every week at training will lead to competent and confident skill execution from the children.

How to Coach the Block Down in Hurling:

3 key teaching points are:

  1. Step forward and place back knee on the ground
  2. Hold the hurley at full length with both hands and thumbs facing up the hurley
  3. Keep Hurley facing up, at full arm’s length in front of the body.
  • Stage 1: Get Children to practice this technique as in the diagram below blocking an imaginary striker. Coach to spot and fix technique. Simple exercise such as “1,2,3 Block” at this stage all the children perform the technique, then go back to ready position to perform again.
  • Stage 2: Children working with a coach each (or coach with 2/3), Coach swings very easily and child steps in and blocks. Coach keeps eye on technique and spot and fixes. Encourage children to block the swingers tape on the Hurley. The Tape of the opponents Hurley should be their target for the Block Down. (Blocking the Tape is a safety aspect to start with, as the child gets competent and wiser, they can progress to blocking the ball)
  • Stage 3: Coach uses Foam Ball (child will not fear foam ball, so technique should remain good) and performs a light strike (pass ball 10m). Player steps in and blocks tape of Coaches Hurley.
  1. Stage 4: Coach progresses to striking sliotar slightly harder, alter for individuals at coaches discretion.

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