What is a single chain in Kho-Kho?

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Kho Kho is one of India’s and the subcontinent’s oldest and most popular traditional games. It’s a contact sport similar to Kabaddi. Unlike Kabaddi, Kho Kho is not a game in which all of the defenders in their court catch or tackle one raider in a 30-second period to prevent him from returning to his court after he touches them. 

On the other hand, it is a game in which one aggressive chaser must track down and touch a group of three defenders within seven minutes on the court. However, after getting touched in both games, a player must exit the game.

Single chain Kho-Kho

Every time the defender passes the back of the sitting chaser up to the chaser on square 6, he moves over to the other court in this variant of route defence. He goes straight to the pole after passing the rear of the chaser on square 6, unless the chaser on square 6 wants to chase him directly rather than give kho to a chaser on square 7. The defender may then cross to the opposing court from the gap between the chaser on square 8 and the pole. The benefits of crossing over to the other court have already been explored. The following diagram depicts a general single chain defence route. (Normal single chain defence is shown by the red line. The case of forward kho is shown by blue line)

When a defender adapts to a single chain defence, it is common practise for the opposing side to try to disrupt the ‘route’ by delivering a forward kho. By altering his direction, the defender can continue to play single chain defence. When a chaser on square 4 delivers a forward kho to a chaser on square 7, instead of giving kho to a chaser on square 5, a defence replies by shifting direction, as depicted in the accompanying diagram.

The single chain defence has a number of notable benefits over the double chain defence. The first is that chasers are required to give a large number of khos. Because many fouls are related to actions taken while giving kho, the chance of fouls increases, slowing down the chase’s speed and rhythm. A defender is also vulnerable if he or she gets too close to the pole. A defender who plays single chain defence spends more time in the middle of the court avoiding the pole. Defenders must be warned, however, that the single chain defence game necessitates specific skills in addition to physical attributes such as suppleness and quick reactions.

A defender should be able to fine-tune his stepping and footwork to the nth degree. In addition, the ‘Palati or Directional deception’ is particularly effective when used correctly. Playing single chain defence in a quick chase with fewer fouls is really challenging. In the event that a defender has trouble changing his stepping, he can easily adapt to the double chain defence. The double chain defence is much easier to learn for novices. Women’s kho kho players, by the way, are more likely to deploy the single chain defence.

Defense skills in Kho-Kho

A defender must pause/stop his sprint towards a pole to observe the attacker’s choice of ‘kho’ (hind-kho or forward kho). Because the attacker and defence are on the same court, if an attacker gives a hind kho, the defender must speed his run towards the pole in the previously designated direction. If an attacker gives a forward kho, the defender will adjust his running path to the opposite of the initial, towards the other pole. The defender would then move the court to a more suitable location on the ground.

When a defender crosses the court quickly, it becomes difficult for him to stop and take a breather near the back of the next sitting chaser after crossing the central lane. If he can’t control his speed and travels past the back of the nearest sitting chaser, he’ll be an easy target for the next sitting chaser because he’ll be facing the court where the defender is. A lesson to be learned from this is that in khokho, running rapidly can be detrimental to a defence at times. As a result, defenders should run with complete control over their speed and direction of movement.

In conclusion, the basic kho kho defence guidelines for a beginner are as follows: 

  • The defender tries to be on the opposite side of the court from which the attacker is chasing. 
  • The defender crosses the central channel from behind the sitting chaser to change the court. 
  • A defender pauses at the back of the next sitting chaser after crossing the centre lane to observe the actions of an attacker.
  • A defender chooses his line of action in response to an attacker’s actions. 
  • A defender should learn to sprint at a regulated pace while making directional changes. 
  • Other than the one being pursued by opponents, the defenders in a batch take places behind the sitting chaser, preferably the fourth defender from each pole and at a distance of two-thirds of the court from the middle lane.