Training Tip of the Month

Lucille BrawlPivoting

Help! My coach just handed me a pivot cap and I don’t know what to do! We all know that feeling; there’s something vague about the job of pivot that throws everyone off. It’s not like jamming where there is a clear goal of going fast and getting points. Instead you’re told to “direct the pack” or “be the last line of defense” or some other mumbo-jumbo that means even your coach doesn’t know what you’re supposed to be doing besides putting your toe on the line and your hips back.

While it’s hard to practice being super smart and aware, there are some specific skills pivots need to have. 1) You need to be able to come from behind or in front to assist your jammer. Regardless of where you are in relation to the individual or the wall that is stopping your jammer from leaving the pack – you need to have the offensive blocking skills to get her out. In the beginning, when you haven’t mastered both assisting from behind and in front, determine which you are better at and set yourself up to cater to your strengths. 2) A pivot also needs to be an awesome judge of distances and understand pack definition rules – you will be out there making last minute plays and bridging for teammates because pivots often play at the extreme edge of the pack. 3) Pivots need to practice slowing not just containing a positionally-blocked opponent as you are always about to run out of time and space when you play the front of the pack. 4) The most important skill of a pivot is talking with your gosh-darned mouth guard! You can’t lead your pack if they can’t hear and understand you.

A very special part about being the pivot is having power while lining up before a jam. The most common mistake pivots make is they are selfish with that power. They line up to their own advantage and take off at the first whistle – but they completely abandon the rest of their team. Remember you are the pivot because you are smart and skilled – those behind you may need your smarts and skills to help them gain a good position off the line. You can make space for them to hop through by how you line up and move (or don’t move) at that first whistle. The pivot decides what the first 5 seconds of a jam look like – who’s in front or in back, which opponent you have trapped, how long it takes to start, etc. and that all starts with how you determine everyone is lined up.

Drill of the Month

Open and Close the Door – Split into two teams and have everyone spread out single file on the inside track line. Pull out 2-3 from each team and pair them up with a pulled opponent. Have these pairs run up the inside line swapping the lead so the person in front approaches her own teammates holding the inside line. The blocker on the line should move to the left – opening the door for her jammer and then step back to the line in time to close the door on the opponent paired with her jammer. The blocker should try to anticipate her jammer’s timing so her jammer doesn’t have to slow down.

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  • November 15th, 2010
  • blog, Training
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