Smother, Shepherd, 2nd and 3rd efforts, Communication


The 1 Percenters are the little things that are not usually given a stat in AFL. Typically 1%ers refer to knock-ons, spoils, smothers, shepherds, chase from behind, bumps, blocks. A 1%er requires a player to put in effort and these are aspects that coaches and scouts look for in athletes.

Skill: Smothering

Goals and big marks can lift a team, but so can a well-executed smother. It has the ability to change momentum and lift a team.

Remember these points to make an effective smother:

  • Arms and hand outstretched from hip level
  • Turn body side on to protect yourself
  • Step across with your leg closest to the opposition player and bend at the knees
  • Keep your arms and hands strong as you place them over the kicking players boot
  • Protect your head with your leading arm – still watch the ball though!

Activities: Smothering

Smother in pairs

  • In pairs practice the smother technique.
  • Kicking player working at about 70%
  • Practice smothering from both sides
Skill: Shepherding
  • Not a “bump”
  • Know where your teammate and the opposition player are at all times (don’t just focus on one or the other)
  • Use arms to lock player in behind you
  • Preferably make contact with the player so you know where they are and stop their run
  • If you can’t make contact just getting between the opposition player and your teammate can be effective, as the opposition player has to use valuable time to get around you
  • It’s all about EFFORT!

Activities: Shepherding the tackler
  • 3 cones set out as in the diagram with a ball carrier line, shepherder line and tackler line.
  • Ball rolled out to player.
  • “Tackler” tries to run down the “ball carrier” and affect disposal/make tackle.
  • “Shepherder” attempts to run a shepherd and keep tackler away.
  • “Shepherder” to talk to “ball carrier” and give important information such as amount of time they have
  • The “ball carrier” needs to execute the handball as well