Why defence in kabaddi is both incredibly technical and incredibly important
Kabaddi is a sport that is very unique in the way its two different components – attack and defenceoperate. While attack in kabaddi is very much an individualistic endeavour, defence is a complete team game and involves all the seven players.
The primary objective of the defender is to protect the court so that no opponent raider can win points - which is easier said than done. Thus they need to be alert and on the watch all the time during the opponent’s raid, and they have to ensure that they are all clued in and in-sync.
A defender in the team typically needs to be strong and agile and should be able to cling on to his teammates. The team defending has players coming together to form a circle around the opponent and clinging on tight to each other. This way, they try to ensure that no opponent crosses over to the other side of the court to win a point.
As the picture above shows, Castrol Activ’s Actibonds exhibit similar qualities to the defense in kabaddi - they cling to the bike engine and provide continuous protection to the engine even when it is off. The actibonds are strong and agile, and cling on to each other to drive away the deposits and help protect the engine for a longer engine life.
A prime example of a well-coordinated kabaddi defence would be the U Mumba team, the defending champions of the Pro Kabaddi League. They have out-thought and out-worked a lot of teams in the league in the previous season, thanks mainly to their impressive communication and almost telepathic understanding at the back.
Their defensive excellence was clear in both their 31-17 win over Bengal Warriors during the league phase and their dominating 35-18 semi-final win over Patna Pirates. Both these performances were among the top 5 defensive displays during the entire season.
All their defenders stand by each other, and the duo of Jeeva Kumar and Vishal Mane are the foundation stones of that backline. There's also Surender Nanda and the young Mohit Chillar, who are competent supporting acts to the defence.
The compact U Mumba unit makes for a watertight defence, one of the toughest in the league. And all the other teams would do well to take inspiration from the defending champions in this all-important but highly technical area of kabaddi.