Here we see a fantastic individual defensive effort by Army’s No. 40 Johnny Surdick. As a coach, I typically cringe when I see trail checks thrown, but Surdick shows us all how to do it properly.
Watch the clip a few times and notice how his hips stay open and his feet continue to move even while throwing his poke and trail check. Younger players usually stop moving their feet when they throw checks. What this does is keep Surdick in a good defensive position, even if his checks were to miss. Keep in mind he is also throwing these checks at midfield which means if he did happen to get beat, he has plenty of help behind him. I always tell my defensive players that I prefer they take risks as far away from the cage as possible.
The poke check in front of the ball carrier moves the stick further behind the player in the cradle motion, leading to an exposed stick and successful trail check.
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Want to learn more about how to be a better defender? Read this article by Connor Wilson here. Great advice for any young defender out there.