The smother is a display of courage when a player throws himself across the leg or boot of an opponent to stop the ball from reaching its destination.

A good smother can deflate the spirit of a player who thinks he is about to get an easy kick. It also lifts the side which has made the smother, because it requires great courage to put your body on the line.

1. The hands are brought from the hip level, close together. ‘Shoot from the hips’ with the fingers pointing straight ahead.

2. The arms and hands are extended at about 45 degrees over the kicking boot. Smother the ball when it is on or has just left the kicker’s boot.

3. The smotherer must keep his eyes on the ball at all times.

Tip: To get your smothering technique started, have a partner fake a kick (without a ball to start with) and aim to touch his kicking foot. When you are more confident, your partner can use a ball.