Coaching Footy Drills to develop not being beaten 1v1 for 13-16 yr olds

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Premiership Player
Sep 21, 2017
AFL Club
Players who can turn 50/50 contests into a goal or not lose a 1v1 contest, whether it’s a loose bobbling ball or in the air or in any play phase
1. Contribute to the Team
2. Influence the game
3. Stand out.

If anyone has a drill they know of or remember they thought was good for that, It’d be good to hear it.
So, lay it out.


Premiership Player
Oct 6, 2009
st kilda east
AFL Club
There's no 1 activity you can do for this unfortunately but hear are some thoughts off the top of my head.

1 - Some kids are far more competitive then others and will stand out in these instances and you can't fast track competitiveness and as we've all seen, often these same kids develop into not-so competitive adults as well. That's not a deal breaker but it does mean they process being competitive differently then say the old, tough coach from the 80's and they value it differently too and that's where the art of coaching comes in

2 - Bigger and faster kids relative to age will often win 1v1's but that doesn't mean they're technically better then the rest, it's that they're obviously bigger and faster now but that may not bethe case as they move through age groups

3 - Language based on "absolutes" doesn't work wither (never lose a 1on1 etc) and only builds fear in players to lose 1v1's so therefore they avoid getting into them and also avoid trying when they get in them as you can't fail if you don't try. You're better off as a coach to determine 1 - 2 aspects of their contest work that is their biggest rate limiter, and developing a framework around them then give the player time to make their way through that, even if it takes the entire season, which is fine because they're developing players and development is a lifelong process

4 - Lastly try and group your team and have them compete against like-ability teammates, not have johnny who sits in the fwd pocket building sandcastles going against mark who just won his 3rd best and fairest in a row - try and find each players optimal learning point as best you can (not an exact science) but I assume you get the idea. Split up into top/mid/bottom ability and do your contest work in those groups. If a player "up"seems to be getting dominated then drop them down to regain confidence (+ framework from above) and move them back up again and voice versa if they're dominating at lower levels and move them up to a higher level

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Club Legend
May 20, 2023
AFL Club
Port Adelaide
Not sure about marking contest 1v1 except repetition.

For ground balls, one of the interesting ones I've heard that the kids seem to really enjoy is 1v1 goalsquare. Coach kicks an inside 50 ball and the players attack the ball... But aren't allowed to touch/pick it up until the ball has stopped bouncing (ie just rolling). Means being quick to the ball is important, but that can be overcome by reading the ball better and establishing body position, but then can be overcome by 1-1 strength to force into the contest and shepherd the opponent from the ball until you can pick it up.
Reason we liked it is that the regular ground ball contest is often won by the quickest and can be disheartening or repetitive.

One purely for learning body position is a stationary ball, 1v1, 15 seconds, coach blows the whistle, closest to the ball wins, furthest from the ball does ten push ups.

Don't know if that helps any.

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