“I think the Back Hold is the most difficult manoeuvre for a defender to execute in kabaddi,” ‘Sultan’ Fazel Atrachali told prokabaddi.com. An aggressive move aimed at surprising raiders, the Back Hold is executed when a defender takes the attacker after sneaking up behind him when he is focused on the opposite Corner. The defender then locks his arms around the raider’s waist with a vice-like grip before using his strength to hold back and drag the raider to the ground, negating any retreating momentum.

A good Back Hold can take a raider completely by surprise.

A grip difficult to master  

Unlike other defensive skills, the use of the Back Hold is infrequent. The limitation stems from the raider’s positioning on the mat, the intricacy involved in sneaking up regularly and the degree of difficulty involved in executing. Baldev Singh provides a better understanding of the mechanics behind this unwonted manoeuvre.

“It’s one of my favorite moves,” Baldev told prokabaddi.com. “It has been quite handy in vivo Pro Kabaddi as you must have seen.

“Majorly you have to work towards your timing and speed to get the tackle right. To catch hold of the raider, it’s also important to have a strong grip, without which the raider can slip away from your hands.”

Bengal Warriors’ Baldev Singh lines up for a Back Hold.

As the move’s nomenclature details, holding on to the raider is key.

“My exercises involve the usage of weights to strengthen my grip for when I grab a hold of raiders. Regardless of whether support arrives in time or not, I train to catch the raider on my own. Hence, I don’t rely on my teammates and hold on to the opponent as much as I can, all by myself,” Baldev said.

Preempting movements

Baldev also explained how he manages the surprise element.

“I use this move mainly on raiders who are on my left,” revealed the Right Corner defender. “I keep observing their vision because you must have everything in place before going for it. If the raider is slow, then we can easily catch him. But sometimes the faster ones make us run a lot.”

Observational analysis is key too, as Gujarat Fortunegiants’ Sumit elucidates.

Timing a Back Hold to precision is of utmost importance.

“The first thing you need to see is the raider's movements,” Sumit explained. “When his foot is going back and forth, you can't be indecisive whether to catch him or not.”

Need for awareness

“You have to see whether the raider is coming towards you or going towards another defender,” Sumit added. “If he attacks another defender, that’s when you pounce and grab him with the Back Hold.”

Bengaluru Bulls’ coach Randhir Singh Sehrawat stressed on the waiting game, insisting players can’t rush it.

“Situational awareness is very important and the raider needs to be aware so the opposite Corner or Cover can't get a jump on him from behind,” Sehrawat said. “It’s better to observe for the first few seconds, make up your mind, and then go for the execution.”

It is clear that the Back Hold evokes fear and doubt in a raider’s mind. The precise timing, stealthy movement, and immense grip strength along with self-belief needed to execute this move makes it one that few defenders even dare to attempt on a regular basis.