Develop spiderlike reflexes and footwork.

Spider Defensive Progression.

NFHCA Field Hockey Drill of the Week, 4-2-1 Drill

Objective: This defensive drill progresses in intensity while introducing and reinforcing good defensive principles and quick footwork. This drill is good for small group work or individual player development sessions.

Set Up: 

  • Drill Progression 1 – each cone should be a different color, have your active defender respond to a coach’s direction by touching the corresponding cone with their foot while staying low and open to the field of play, do this for 10 – 20 seconds per defender.

The Drill:

  • Progression 2 — have other players call out directions from different areas of the field, you can also progress to having two players in the circle (receiving two different sets of directions) at once to work on spatial awareness, do this for 10 – 20 seconds per defender.
  • Progression 4 — following the outlet pass, the original defender recovers quickly back into the circle, the player that received the ball sends it back to the feeder at the top of the circle (5) who hits it back into the playing area for a second intercept (6), the defender carries the ball out of the circle (7), one repetition per defender.


  • Consider sending a bouncy ball or passes with varied speeds into the playing area to challenge your defenders.
  • Modify the drill to turn it into a 1v1 or 2v2 between the defender and the player they passed the outlet to.
  • Depending on your team’s conditioning levels give your defenders longer breaks between their repetitions as the active defender — when they’re in line, keep them engaged by having them call out directions for their teammates.

Drill provided by Head Coach, Kelsi Lykens, at the Lehigh University. Thank you Coach!