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Why do kabaddi players hold hands? - Explained

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Kabaddi, one of India’s indigenous sport, sees its name derived from the Tamil word kai-pidi which quite literally means holding hands. The game of kabaddi involves a player known as a raider tagging one or a set of defenders from the other team before retreating beyond the midline in an attempt to score points. 

The defenders in return tries to pin the raider down and prevents him from crossing the midline after the raider makes contact with any member of the defence.

To prevent raiders form crossing the midline after making contact, defenders are needed to act in unison and perform tackles collectively. On most occasions, they are seen holding each other's hands while the raider crosses the midline for a raid. 

There are multiple reasons why kabaddi players hold hands while trying to thwart raiders and here we have a look at a few of them.

Executing the chain tackle 

One of the main reasons why kabaddi players hold each other's hands is to execute a chain tackle on retreating raiders. During a chain tackle, the defenders try to encircle the approaching raider by holding their hands in a bid to prevent the attacker from heading back towards the midline following contact with the defence. 

Holding hands allows the defenders to maintain a strong enclosed area with minuscule gaps, thereby making it tougher for a raider to escape. With new raiding skills like dubki and frog jump becoming increasingly popular, the significance of a well-timed chain tackle holds greater relevance now than ever before.   

Maintaining balance

Defenders frequently try to evade an approaching raider’s touch by dodging him at the end line of the kabaddi mat. While doing so, they sometimes tend to lose their balance and inadvertently step off the mat. However, holding hands prevents defenders from losing their balance and stepping out of the playing area. 

Holding hands, in fact, is one of the best ways for defenders to make optimal use of the playing area without worrying about getting dismissed by stepping out off court. In other words, holding hands doesn’t just aid in maintaining balance, but also helps in positional awareness as one defender can rescue another by dragging him back to the mat and keeping him in bounds when they lose balance while trying to dodge raiders.  

Better defensive control

Working in cohesion is the hallmark of any good defensive side in kabaddi. Good defensive teams always move together by holding each other's hand while the raider attempts to get a touch. Being on the same wavelength defensively is imperative for success in most sports whether it’s the backline in football or defenders holding hands in kabaddi.

Sometimes defenders also attempt to charge towards the raider in their attempts to intimidate the raider or surprise them if nothing else. In such cases, holding hands can help the defending team maintain good control on the mat by preventing them from overcommitting.

Author: Kaustubh Potdar

Featured photo: PKL / Website 

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