Table 1. Self-reported scores of hesitation defence.
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It is difficult to quantify the magnitude of the change of direction of the defender as in each trial the direction and speed of both players varied. This variation altered the parameters of the change of direction. Informed observation by three interested coaches of the game of “touch” prior to the testing confirmed that all players used some variation of the hesitation at least once while carrying the ball. In all cases where the technique was appropriate and there was space, the ball carrier was able to beat the defender. It is thought that the key to the hesitation defence is that what has really changed is the anticipated time to contact (tau). To counter the hesitation, the defending player learned to respond to the slowing of the attacker with a new response. When the attacking player hesitated, the defender responded with a change of direction toward the attacking player. As the slowing response seems to be a natural and consistent response built up over many years of playing contact type games, there is a very strong stimulus-response compatibility and making this change should be a difficult task for the learner. It would seem that by practising the hesitation defence in a one-on-one situation and then incorporating the move in a simulated game that it is possible to replace the existing compatibility with a new response, which, with practice, may become automatic. Figure 5 illustrates the mechanics of the move.