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What is a feint?!

I recently had a lively discussion with a coaching colleague. In essence, it was about the question: "What is a feint"? The question arose because a player came up with the opinion in training that an „Überzieher“ (= translates into something like „overdraw“ or „overlay“), a "Durchstecker" (=translates into something like „bolting through“) and a "wobbler" (= or maybe more a „wiggle“) were feints that had to be practiced now.

For all those who - like me - cannot do anything with these terms at first, here is an explanation. The "Überzieher" does not refer to the German words like coat, sweater or even a condom, but rather the moving of the throwing arm past the defender or over him. Well-known aliases of this action are "Kurbler", "Durchzieher", "Überleger" - maybe there are more, depending on the region in Germany, Austria or Switzerland. If you know some more, report it to me, thank you.

The "Durchstecker", I had to ask, is probably the passing or throwing of the ball from the outstretched arm, which is brought to the defender behind or to the side for this purpose. An alternative explanation was that it was a technique in which the outstretched throwing arm is stretched into the space next to the defender in order to remove the ball from the opponent's grip. A kind of "Überzieher", only with a straight-line movement, so to speak.

What is the "wobbler"? A jerky, lateral to-and-fro movement from the legs and trunk. It would also be available as a „double wobble“, then probably with repeated movement patterns.

As funny as these actions may sound to the not-german ear: All of these “actions” have one thing in common: They are not feints.

So what is a feint? A feint is an act of the game.

As such, it differs from an athletic movement task, such as changing direction on command or circling your arms. The change of direction can also be done on cones. If, on the other hand, the change of direction becomes an act of the game that necessarily involves an opponent, then it is a matter of tricking this player into gaining an advantage over him.

If the "arm circling" with the ball in hand is the pretense of a throwing action, then it is a feint that aims to provoke a follow-up action on the part of the defender. A feint wants to achieve an advantage over the opponent. That can be a spatial advantage - than a player creates a breakthrough space or a throwing window. It can also be a time advantage - than the player gains a brief lead in the game, to overrun the opponent or to pass or something else. Usually the results of a feints are combined in both time and space.

However, all acts of feinting force one thing: the opponent has to react to it.

Consequently, feinting is an act of play that provokes the opponent to do something that the feinting player can use as an advantage. Of course, standing on your feet and "wiggling" your upper body does not meet these requirements. What advantage should the attacker gain here? The clever defender will wait or, worse for the attacker, act on his part and take the initiative.

The ball can be used to feint: with a throwing or playing feint. Both require a reaction from the defender - if, yes if: The attacker acts credibly, so he could throw and could pass. You can feint with your feet: with feints when the player is not in possession of the ball (this is also called “running free” in technical jargon) or by playing around the opponent.

Playing around does not mean running around - the latter would again be an athletic task from the area of dexterity training and can be wonderfully trained with running around airbodies, for example. However, since airbodies are not able to carry out defensive game actions, the attacker does not need any game action here either. Playing around, on the other hand, presupposes that the attacker creates a way - by means of feinting. “Flashing left and turning right” is what I like to call it.

The same principle also applies to the "Überzieher" mentioned at the beginning. This only makes sense as a final motor movement after the attacker has created enough space for himself by means of a (game) feint to get past the opponent with his arm. Otherwise no advantage, even more - the rules clearly state that defenders who have occupied their area of action before the attacker get possession of the ball with physical contact on the part of the attacker, namely through an offensive foul by the attacker.

Everything is about creating an advantage - in space and / or time. This is followed by the above-mentioned athletic-motoric things. Which is why an „Überzieher“ is not a deception either, but only becomes one in combination with a game action. You may look over it, but: I hope I have now “prevented” coaches everywhere from letting their players “wobble” in front of airbodies. This is athletic training. And no training of feinting.

Photo: Jürgen Pfliegensdörfer

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