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Raiding skills

Raid is the focal point of Kabaddi. A couple of good raiders can change the whole tempo of the match within minutes with their superior techniques and tactics. Since more points can be scored through raids, the raider is always in the lime light and can be the recipient of public adulation or their brickbats depending on the quality of his raids. During the raid or attack in the opponents’ court, the raider has to maintain the ‘cant’ while withholding his breath.  ‘cant ’is the continuous audible chanting of the term ‘Kabaddi’ while withholding his breath by the raider during his attack in the opponents’ court. The aim of the raider, while in the opponents’ court, is to touch as many ‘antis’ as possible without being caught.


To make the raid successful, the raider must enter the opponents’ court with cant and either cross the baulk line or touch one or more antis before returning with cant to his home court without any breach of rules. The raid is fairly complex and several factors are to be considered to make it successful. A good raider should be equipped with skill, tactics, counteraction, ability to judge the situation, extricate him-self from difficult situations and above all good footwork to score points. The preconditions of a raid relate to the technique and strategy adopted by the raider just before he embarks on the raid. The points to be considered include where to enter, the existing number of antis in the opponents’ court, the defence positions adopted by the opponent, system of play adopted by the opponent, choosing the target, take stock of the game situation, whether to cross the bonus line and generally making a quick mental plan of the attack. All these factors are to be considered by the raider in split seconds before he starts his attack.

During the raid, the raider makes maximum use of his limbs to come into contact or touch the opponents to score points. This is accomplished through the techniques used by the raider with leg touches such as toe touch, foot touch, squat leg thrust, kicks and hand touches with his arms. Skill is the automatic application of technique without conscious thought. Skill is also defined as the ability to coordinate different muscles in order to perform a combination of specific movements smoothly and effectively. 

The factors that influence footwork, which is the hallmark of a good raider include general & specific fitness as well as stance, body position, movement velocity, feinting ability, pivots, & sudden checks in the raiding movement.

There are different types of raiding footwork such as the leading leg raid, shuffling raid, natural raid, reverse step raid and cross step raid. Changing direction during the raid is also a significant technique adopted by the raiders to take the antis by surprise. 

Fundamental Raiding skills

Fundamental raiding skills can be broadly classified into hand touches, toe touches, foot touches, leg touches and kicks. Even if the raider is capable of good footwork, he will not be effective without these basic raiding skills.




Hand touch is the easiest and perhaps the first raiding skill learnt by the raiders. This apparently easy skill does require proper practise and good reflexes on the part of the raider. Hand touch has been classified into five types i.e., running hand touch, stooping hand touch, turning hand touch, hopping hand touch and Feint & touch. Various skill drills have been designed for hand touches.











Toe touch is very effective in the bonus line game since it can be used by the raider even when he is at a considerable distance from the antis. Toe touch involves quick movements which can take the antis by surprise. To make the skill more effective it can be used in its different forms such as double attack in toe touch, feinting toe touch, dragging back & toe touch, running toe touch & taking a step & toe touch…………………..





Foot touch is another fundamental raiding skill akin to toe touch with similar application method and principles. However, the salient difference between both the skills is that in toe touch the raider tries to touch the antis with his toe while in foot touch, the raider uses his complete foot.

During the execution of this skill, the raider drags his thrusting leg towards the antis, which is known as a ‘slip’ in Kabaddi. This ‘slip’ helps the raider cover more area in the opponents’ court which has an advantage over toe touch.


Sudden leg thrust is another type of leg touch which is a combination of toe touch and foot touch. Raiders with quick reaction ability can use this skill to advantage. Sudden leg thrust is applied by sliding the attacking leg from side wards to reverse or forward to sideward making a second attack during the same execution of the technique, which can take the antis by surprise and is very effective in the bonus line game.



Squat leg thrust as the name suggests, is applied by the raider in a squatting position by thrusting his nearest leg towards the antis. This skill can be applied after feint by the raider to push the defence chains away to create a distance between the chains and results in delay in application of cover by the antis.  This skill calls for high reaction ability and good agility. Sort and slim raiders can make good use of this skill since the squatting position inclined towards the midline will make their escape to home court easier.


Kicking in Kabaddi is a significant attacking skill which can be resorted to in critical situations with good results. Back kick, Side kick & Curve / roll kick are the various types of kicks used by raiders in Kabaddi which can beexecuted while maintaining distance from the antis, to confuse the defence and enable the raider to make a surprise attack on the second man or cover, a good weapon to use against the defence when the antis are fielding on the baulk line. This is a good skill to be used effectively when the defence players are less in number.

Advanced Raiding skills


Advanced raiding skills concern escape tactics & techniques from various holds applied by the raider as counter skills against defence tactics & strategies.


The raider requires skills to escape from various holds such as ankle hold, thigh / knee hold, waist / trunk hold etc.



Every raider tries his best to escape from the hold of the anti /s with an intention to score points for his team and return unscathed to his home court. To extricate himself from the holds of the defence players he requires quick reflexes, agile movements and explosive power. To assist the raider in his counteraction against the holds, there are advanced skills to be learnt with proper practise as escape tactics.



Fundamental Defence skills

The main objective of the defence players or ‘antis,’ is to catch the raider and prevent him from escaping to his home court with ‘cant’. To achieve this objective, the antis can use any of the six fundamental defence skills i.e., Ankle hold, Thigh hold, Knee hold, Waist hold and Blocking.

Ankle hold is an individual defence skill in Kabaddi and is used by the defence players as a counter skill against leg thrusts and foot touches by the raider during an attack. Corner zone players can capitalize on this skill especially in the bonus line game, since every raider does make an attempt to cross the bonus line in the corner zones. The second position defence players can also use this skill to advantage in the baulk line game for initiating a catch. The application of this skill involves observation, body posture inclined towards the raider, the right approach to the raider, a firm grip on the raider’s ankle, and follow through action which includes lifting up, pulling back, and changing the direction of the raider towards the side lines in order to make his escape to home court more difficult.

Thigh hold is also an individual defence skill which can be applied by any defence player irrespective of his position. This skill has an element of surprise for the raider and can be used to advantage by the defence as a planned surprise tactic. The advantages of this hold are that chances of counteraction by the raider are minimum, even heavy raiders can be overpowered, even reduced number of players in the defence can attempt this skill since less support is required, the raider has no scope to escape by creating a gap, the grip is firm and less risk is involved. Thigh hold can be attempted by the antis in situations when the raider moves from one zone to the other during his attack, when the raider uses the leading leg raid, when the raider turns back to apply hand touch, when the raider moves from second to second position or when the raider runs blindly towards the corner zones. Keen observation, right approach, firm grip and proper follow through action as in the case of ankle holds also apply in the case of thigh holds. 



Knee hold is very much like thigh hold, and is applied in similar situations but where as thigh hold is an individual initiating defence skill; knee hold is more of a combination defence skill and requires immediate support from the remaining defence players for its success. The grip in knee hold is comparatively less firm and it is difficult to change the direction of the raider. The antis in second / supporting positions can apply this skill.



Waist or Trunk hold is a skill used by the anti to capture the raider from behind. his is considered one of the best defence skills since the raider has negligible chances of escape. This defence skill in comparison to other skills is more powerful due to the strong grip, close reach, and more covering area which is advantageous to the defenders. 


Waist hold can be applied in situations when the raider shows his back, when the raider attacks on 2nd / In, when the raider drags back or moves back to the corner zone, when the raider moves blindly from corner to corner, when the raider comes back to position during the course of his raider to restart the attack or when the raider uses turning attack. The mechanism of waist hold involves careful observation and anticipation of the raider’s path & attack. After applying the waist hold technique, the follow through action involves lifting up, changing the direction of the raider and falling / rolling back to check the movement of the raider.


A strong grip Wrist holdWrist hold is a rare defence skill which can be applied only when the occasion presents itself on raiders who have a typical style of raiding with both arms extended and concentration in one direction with slow measured movements. This skill which was once in use as a major defence skill is a rarity nowadays. The reason for this is that the players were heavier, their movements were much slower and the style of the game was also different from the present day game. The players are now more agile, flexible and employ quick movements. The footwork /raiding style has also undergone a radical change and since the arm of the raider is extended only to execute a quick touch, the antis rarely get an opportunity to apply wrist hold. It is advisable to apply this skill as a combination hold along with ankle hold in situations when the raider extends his hand to touch at one position, when the raider attacks on deep corners to apply hand touch or when the raider returns to first position to restart his attack.

Blocking is a wall of obstruction created by the defence after catching the raider to prevent his escape to home court. Although the cover and corner antis generally apply this skill as a combined defence technique, it is considered indispensable for the covers who are considered the watch dogs of the defence system. Blocking is generally applied in situations when the raider is fully covered, when the raider goes into deep corners, when the raider attacks on the centre zone, or when the raider takes reverse turn to attack. Te types of blocking are on the spot blocking, running block & following block.. 



Advanced Defence skills

The chain system in Kabaddi is an advanced defence skill used as a strategy to capture tall & heavy players who appear invincible. This skill can be used to advantage by even light weight antis to overpower comparatively heavier raiders with minimum chances of injuries. This advanced defence skill is classified into three types i.e., chain holds by corner/centre zone players, running chain holds & following chain holds. Each of these types of chain holds can be applied depending on the situation and have different hand grips for the best results. The mechanism of the chain hold includes formation of the chain, covering the path of the raider, maintaining the hold after the capture.


Skill Drills


Skill drills are the repetition of the techniques used in the sport with an aim to attain perfection. With perfection through repeated practise of the drills comes mastery over the sport. Drills are the best means to get acquainted with new skills. Repeated practise will equip the player to apply the skill automatically as per the demands of the game situation, without any hesitation. 

In a team sport such as Kabaddi, each player has to use his individual skill for the benefit of the entire team. This is possible with direct interaction with the other players of the team. It is not practical for the coach to give direct instructions to the entire team since this will be too time consuming and cause a situation in which most of the players stand around while a few receive instructions. To avoid a situation it would be more practical to break up the team into smaller drill groups so that each player is able to participate in the training programme and understand the purpose of the manoeuvres as well as visualize the technique being demonstrated.  It is essential to set aside a specific time in each practice session for training drills in order to improve the players’ potential in various individual skills.

Training or skill drills are not restricted to beginners only. Even advanced players are to be given drills to polish and intensify the existing potential. While designing skill drills, every conceivable game like situation is kept in view and such situations are created for specific skill training. The steps involved in teaching a drill are introduction, demonstration, explanation, organization, practise & rectification of wrong moves/mistakes.
Specific drills have been designed to develop the fundamental & advanced skills in Kabaddi .

Systems of Play


The systems of play  (formations) are a set of guidelines for a team that governs their individual and collective movements.  Commonly this is seen as a starting formation and then variations in fielding the defensive in different situations.  Different formations can be used y a team depending on whether the team wishes to play more attacking or passive. 


System of play has been defined as a group of parts working together in a regular relation. In the field of sports, system of play in any team game is recogniged pattern of play resulting from the use of the players assigned with specific functions. The functions may differ from one player to another but the main objective of all the players remains same, i.e., to give the best performance to the team as a whole. In any system, the functions of each player are related to the functions of other players and are not to be taken in isolation. A sound inter-relationship is must for any team game since it takes a well planned methodical arrangement to face the opponents and to defend the team.

“A system of play is method of arranging players on the field in order for them to caryy out particular duties” – William Thomson (Teaching Soccer)

“Any system, no matterhow poor it is, better than no system at all” – Arnold Red

Every system has its own advantages and disadvantages. Any system, either in offence or in defense, is formulated on certain basic concepts. 



Tactics matter comes soon