The advent of Pro Kabaddi witnessed a seismic shift in the evolution of the sport. No longer a sport just associated with brute strength, attributes such as fitness, agility and a sound temperament are just as important these days for players to be a success in the Pro Kabaddi arena.
The evolution of kabaddi also witnessed several new innovations in terms of a players’ skill set. Whether it’s in attack or defence, kabaddi players are required to master certain popular moves and execute them seamlessly on the mat to make it at the highest level. Here we look at some of the most popular fundamental kabaddi skills that players must possess in offence and defence.
Offensive skills in kabaddi
A raider must possess several skills to avoid becoming predictable in attack. Raiding involves players going into the opposition half to score points by attempting a touch on the defenders and returning to their half. Raid Points are of utmost importance as they help the teams score a majority of their points. Here are some of the key raiding moves that any raider must have in their skillset.
After entering the opposition half or crossing the midline, a raider performs a hand touch by extending his arm to touch the defender. Hand touch is one of the most common scoring skills for a raider. Running hand touch is an advanced version of the regular move which requires raiders to touch defenders while being on the move during a raid. It requires an optimal level of agility and flexibility for a raider to successfully execute this move.
A toe touch takes place when a raider swiftly bends down and scores points by using his foot to make contact with a defender. Heavily reliant on speed and catching defenders off guard, the toe touch is a spontaneous move attempted by a raider to outfox unassuming defenders. The move, if mastered, is also effective to score bonus points when six or more defenders are on the mat. Former U Mumba captain Anup Kumar was a master of toe touch.
During the back kick, a raider turns around and tries to score a touch point by catching the defender off guard. While performing this move, a raider’s objective is to deceive defenders by turning their back to the defence before attempting a backward kick that touches the defender and earns a point. This move requires a raider to be quick on his feet to execute the skill perfectly. The side kick is another derivative of the back kick whereas the name suggests, a raider is required to kick sideways while on the run without losing balance in his attempt to score a touch point against a defender.
A scorpion kick is one of the toughest skills to execute for raiders. It requires the raider to turn his back towards the defender and attempt a touch by raising one of his feet at a high angle while the other foot and his palms are planted to the ground for support. It resembles a scorpion’s metasoma or tail, which is why it’s called a scorpion kick. Meraj Sheykh, Jasvir Singh and Kashiling Adake were some of the best exponents of the scorpion kick during the early seasons of Pro Kabaddi.
One of the more famous offensive skills in kabaddi, the dubki is a move where the raider has to crouch low, spot an opening amongst a sea of defenders and thrust himself through the smallest of gaps with force to escape the chain of defenders. It is a skill that requires great game awareness, speed of thought and flexibility to execute immaculately. One of the popular exponents of dubki is Pardeep Narwal who has found a lot of success with it in Pro Kabaddi. He is also fondly referred to as the ‘Dubki King’ for his propensity to flawlessly execute this skill frequently.
The art of Dubki 🔥— ProKabaddi (@ProKabaddi) November 9, 2021
No prizes for guessing who performs this move exceptionally on the mat! 😉#Kabictionary #vivoProKabaddiIsBack pic.twitter.com/INEa4A7xoQ
A frog jump takes place when a raider leaps high off the ground by thrusting himself off the incoming sea of defenders and reaching the midline. To execute the jump, one requires perfect timing and physical strength while also maintaining the correct body posture when landing on the ground. Season 7 MVP Pawan Sehrawat was one of the first exponents of this move in Pro Kabaddi. He also got the nickname ‘Hi-Flyer’ for this skill.
One of the most explosive moves in Kabaddi. Frog jump is an extreme move, used when the raider needs to evade the defenders and has very little lateral space.#ABCofKabaddi #Kabaddi #PuneriPaltan#BasicsofKabaddi pic.twitter.com/nTyNzgsE9i— Puneri Paltan (@PuneriPaltan) February 8, 2018
Defensive skills in kabaddi
A good defensive unit in kabaddi is a hallmark of champion teams. During defending, teams must stop raiders from scoring points and returning to their half by crossing the midline. Defensive skills in kabaddi is mostly about physical strength and force although judging when to make a tackle is just as important a quality as any to be a successful defender. With that in mind, here are some defensive skills that have become commonplace in kabaddi.
An ankle hold is a skill that helps a defender pin down a raider instantly by restricting his foot movements on the mat. The defender must judge when to attempt the move while a raider fishes for points with his feet. If a defender can perfectly execute an ankle hold with a firm grip as the raider attempts a toe touch, he will more often than not end up restricting the raider from crossing the midline by pinning him down on the mat with a vice-like grip on the ankle. Iranian Fazel Atrachali is one of the best defenders in ankle holds.
Kabaddi Skills: Deconstructed— ProKabaddi (@ProKabaddi) October 12, 2018
Precision, strength, speed, teamwork – that’s what defending in kabaddi is all about. Here, Surender Nada demonstrates the skills to the utmost. Watch as we break down his ankle hold and show you defending that’s inescapable. pic.twitter.com/gXBeMWZLO1
A block is a move where a defender prevents the raider from moving towards the midline by blocking the attacker’s escape path with the use of his entire body. For effective execution, the defender waits for the raider to go deep inside the court before breaking his chain and unleashing the block. The skill requires great physical strength and at times help from teammates to successfully kill the raider’s struggle.
A raider's worst nightmare on the mat: Block 💪— ProKabaddi (@ProKabaddi) November 16, 2021
Know this beasty move better 💥#vivoProKabaddiIsBack #Kabictionary pic.twitter.com/DnRFNfJOp4
The dash is a move where the defender rushes to a raider with great ferocity before pushing them out of the playing area and preventing them from crossing the midline. It usually takes place when a raider is retreating after touching a defender and requires one or more defenders to tackle the attacker off-court beyond the lobby area during his attempt to cross the midline. Although the dash can be performed alone, the skill requires teamwork for successful execution.
A chain tackle is performed through the support of two or more defenders on the mat. It is used to stop the raider from crossing the midline by holding hands and trapping retreating raiders in the chain during the attacker’s attempt at returning to his midline. Perfect timing and consistent execution of chain tackles are the foundations of a good defensive unit.
Quite popular as a defensive move among Kabaddi players. Watch and learn more about the Chain Tackle. #ABCofKabaddi pic.twitter.com/V6B5kXUADA— Puneri Paltan (@PuneriPaltan) January 29, 2018
Back hold is one of the toughest skills to execute by a defender. It not just requires the defender to use brute physical strength but they must also have excellent game awareness to bring about the dismissal of the raider through this move. The back hold requires a defender to grab a hold of defenders from the back or waist area before flipping them to the ground in a manner akin to German suplexes in wrestling. Former Bengal Warriors defender Ran Singh was the best exponent of the back hold in Pro Kabaddi.
Featured photo: Jaipur Pink Panthers / Twitter