Defence Zone Concepts 1 – Poaching by Annie Glasspool

Introduce the concept of defending players moving through an area rather than defending an individual.

Zone Concepts Session 1 – Poaching


Objectives Introduce the concept of defending players moving through an area rather than defending an individual.
Comments All participants should finish the session with an understanding of how to pick up a player moving through their assigned space, and some of the basic skills required in doing so. It is assumed the team’s default offence is vertical stack. It can be adapted to suit some other structure, but don’t allow the offence to scatter into a zone offensive structure at this stage.
New Concepts Poaching, switching.


Name Duration Outline Coach Notes
6 vs 7 game 10 mins One player is given a distinctive coloured bib, and plays as perpetual offence, everyone else plays 6-a-side. This means there are always 7 offence and 6 defenders, so the D will have to communicate/switch/poach in order to get turns. *The extra offence must play as a cutter, in a vertical stack. Don’t prep the players for this. Let them explore communicating, poaching and switching informally as it occurs to them.
Discussion point 5 mins What did the defence do particularly effectively? Aim to draw out the concepts of poaching, switching and communicating. Hopefully standing in the open lane and marking people who run into that space, will emerge as a successful tactic.
Picking up players 5 mins Picking up players
Players practice marking players who move through an area in which they’re poaching. The purpose here is simply to move away from match D and introduce switching.

The emphasis here is simply that poaching is still hard work, not a shortcut. Defenders should aim to pick up the next cutter as soon as possible after the previous one is left.
Don’t worry too much about face marking vs looking at the disc. That’s coming next.
Picking up players – body positioning 15 mins Picking up players – Body positioning
Build on the previous drill to mark someone while maintaining awareness of the disc.
Let people run through the drill several times, encouraging them to try different body positions that allow them to be aware of the disc and the cutters. In a final run through, allow a player to act as the sideline, and shout “swing” when the disc moves, emphasising how much easier awareness is with verbal help.
Five pull 6 vs 7 10 mins 7 offence play against 6 defenders five times in a row. Re-pull after a turnover. This is an opportunity to put the new defensive skills into a game situation without too much else to think about. Offence must play vertical stack. Encourage the defence to be more structured this time. When calling the line they should identify an open side poach, a break side poach and a deep poach. The sideline should be actively involved in helping these players pick up cutters in their areas.
7 vs 7 game 15 mins Both teams must set up poaches around the stack when on defence. This is an opportunity to put the new defensive skills into practice in a full game situation. Offence must play vertical stack. Defenders should call poaches just as in the five pull. Players need to cope with setting up poaches after a turn. Insisting on slow turns only could be useful if they struggle with the set up.
* If you get asked the question, what should everyone else do on D?, suggest that people mark the biggest threats, but don’t specify. Assure them that identifying these threats will be the focus of future sessions.


Talking Points What things did the offence do that made it easier to switch and/or poach against them?
What things did the offence do that made it harder to switch and/or poach against them?
What is this like for a thrower? How did these new defensive concepts make throwing more challenging?
Further Study Why poach?


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