Know the basic terms of the sport & what they mean

The Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) has merged some traditional Kabaddi rules and terms with modern-day technology, glitz, and glamor. This has resulted in a fast-paced and action-packed sport, making every match in the league a keenly contested one.

The league organizers have borrowed some concepts and have come up with a few of their own, such as the do-or-die raid. The current package makes for exciting viewing, both in the stadiums and on television. This extensive glossary will contain frequently used terms and the meaning behind them.

The Pro Kabaddi League has seen a total viewership of over 400 million, making it India’s second most popular sports league behind the Indian Premier League. Here are some key terms, skills, and concepts to get familiarized with in order to get a better understanding of the rules and regulations.


An all-out is declared when all 7 members of a team are off the mat, either after being tagged by a raider or after getting pinned down by defenders. The team that enforces an all-out gets two additional points, after which all seven players of the opposition are revived.

Ankle hold:

Usually a skill mastered by the corners, an ankle hold is when a defender latches on to a raider’s ankle/s with grip strength just as he/she attempts a bonus point or toe touch. The ankle hold restricts the foot movement of the raider, rendering him/her immobile. Surender Nada and Fazel Atrachali specialise in ankle holds.


A block is a defensive move wherein the defender sits himself/herself directly in the path of an escaping raider and prevents him/her from crossing the mid-line. Sandeep Narwal, Manjeet Chillar, and Parvesh Bhainswal use the block to good effect.

Back hold:

A very tough defensive skill to master, a back hold requires strength, awareness, and timing. A defender grabs a raider on his/her back and flips them to the ground. Ran Singh was the best exponent of this skill.

Baulk line:

These are the lines parallel to the midline. The distance from the baulk line to the midline is 3.75 meters. Raiders need to cross the baulk line to ensure a legal raid.

Bonus line:

The line between the baulk line and the end line. The distance between the bonus line and baulk line is 1 meter. A raider needs to cross the bonus line with his other


While raiding, a raider has to continuously chant ‘Kabaddi Kabaddi’ throughout the raid


There are two corners at the extreme ends of the defensive seven. They are key parts of the defense, as raiders target either one of them first. They need to be sharp and quick to dodge a running hand-touch while possessing a firm ankle hold and block.


There are two covers in the center of the defensive seven. They are usually a part of a chain. They need to have a good dash, block, and thigh hold while contributing to assists. Cover defenders also are super-tackle specialists.


In a dash, a defender blindsides a raider, rushing with pace and pushing the raider out of bounds. Perfect teamwork is essential to execute a dash. Jeeva Gopal and Vishal Mane were experts in the dash.


Sitting between the covers and corners are the ins. They are typically raiders, who help in assists.


The stripes at both ends of the court. If a raider or defender enters the lobby without any contact, they are immediately removed from the ongoing raid

Left-right raider:

Raiders who are comfortable in raiding from both sides. A very versatile tool to have.


The mid-line divides the court into two territories. Raiders need to get back to the mid-line after tagging a defender or after a struggle to get points.

Running hand-touch:

This is a raider’s primary weapon for point-scoring. He/she runs across from one corner to another with hands extended, sometimes stooping low and sometimes following a quick pivot.

High Hold:

A defender gets a hold of a raider’s thighs well before the mid-line.

Toe Touch:

The raider tries to touch the defender on the toe with his/her outstretched leg. Unpredictability is key, watch Anup Kumar’s raids to understand how this is best executed.

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