How to Do the Y-dodge in Field Hockey
The y-dodge is the simplest elimination move you can make in field hockey. An elimination move is a skill used to take on an opponent one-on-one, and this offensive dodge gets you past an opponent by allowing you to pass the ball around her, and then back to yourself. This dodge is most commonly used on the forward line because you need ample space behind your opponent to complete the self-pass aspect of the dodge.
The move gets its name from how it looks. You travel in a straight line towards your opponent. Then to dodge her, you pass the ball to her left while running past her right — this forms the “Y” shape. This field hockey guide will teach you how and when to use the y-dodge, so you can beat your opponents with this basic elimination tactic.
Make sure to watch your timing with this move. You have to draw the defender to her right (your left) before pushing the ball past her. To complete a y-dodge:
- Place your hands in the basic grip.
- Straight-dribble the ball towards the right side (strong side) of your opponent. This will draw her to the right and cause her to position her stick on the strong side of her body.
- Once you get the ball within a stick’s distance away from your opponent, plant your left foot and jerk your body to the left to fake you opponent. If your fake works, it should cause her to fully commit to her right, leaving her left side (weak side) completely open.
- Once she has committed, quickly push the ball forward and to your right, past her weak (left) side. This will make it hard for her to reposition her stick in time to stop the ball. It’s important to only use your arms, rather than turning your entire body, to make the push — this will help you make your fake more believable. Use enough power to push the ball about five yards past your opponent.
- Depending on your strategy, you can also opt to pass the ball between her legs.
- After you make the pass, quickly sprint past the right side of your opponent and regain possession of the ball behind her. As you run towards the ball, make sure to position your body between her and the ball to block her path. This will put you a step ahead of your opponent and give you a clearer path to goal.
- Regain possession of the ball and continue loose-dribbling towards your goal.
- Scan for possible passing options.
When to Make Your Move
The y-dodge is almost always completed on the run. It is completed quickly so that you can beat your opponent while maintaining forward momentum. Before your make your move, though, make sure that you have at least 10 yards of space between you and your opponent because this dodge requires a good amount of space so that you can run onto the ball after pushing it.
As mentioned in the steps listed above, there are two ways to complete a y-dodge;
- You can pass the ball to yourself, past the left side of your opponent.
- You can pass the ball between her legs.
With either move, you’ll be able to get the ball past your opponent, but pushing the ball between her legs risks a foot call (and a free hit). So while inside the offensive shooting circle, it may be more of a benefit to go for the foot foul and gain a penalty corner call than to aim for the complete dodge.
Hot Tip: Practice Drill
You won’t be able to perfect this dodge without ample practice, so here is a great drill to get you going. Place three cones in front of you, in a V shape, and about one yard apart from each other. Stand 10 yards back from the cone closest to you to form a “Y” shape. The cone to your left is the first cone, and the cone to your right is the second. Straight-dribble to the left of the first cone, then plant your foot, fake left, and pass the ball to the second cone. Sprint to regain possession of the ball. After a few runs, add in a defender and try out your new move!
Tips for Success
Listed below are a few extra points to pay attention to when making your y-dodge:
- Focus on drawing the defender to her right (your left) and make your fake convincing.
- Keep your body positioned to the left while you pass to the right. Do not reposition your body for the push, as that will give away the fake immediately.
- Make your move at the last minute and do not alert your opponent to the plan by hesitating!
The dodge is simple in concept, but it needs to be used strategically. Otherwise, you will basically give the ball to the other team. So, make sure there are no defenders behind your opponent (at least for 10 yards); otherwise, expect an easy interception.
Also, pay attention to the amount of power you apply to the pass. You want to provide enough power for the ball to be placed five yards past your opponent. Anything closer and the defender can recover; anything further and the ball can be intercepted. So, aim for a five yard distance.
This move relies on you gaining enough speed to catch up to the ball. The faster you regain possession of the ball, the more successful you will be. So practice quick fakes, releases, and acceleration, and you will be able to beat any defender with your y dodge!