EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Evasion skills warm-ups and games

Evasion is a fundamental movement skill. Players use in pretty much all their activities, without necessarily focusing on the specific skills they need.

Without becoming too bogged down in the technical requirements, you want to improve your players starting and stopping, balance, change of direction and acceleration. With that comes an awareness of space, time, teammates, the opposition and the ball.

There are three approaches you can take: Work on general movement skills, develop a specific movement skill (like a side-step or spin) or pose problems for the players to discover their own movement solutions.

Underpinning this, you need to understand your own players’ capabilities and limitations.

Here are some warm-up exercises where you can place a little more emphasis on how the players respond to movement cues and clues. Nearly of all of them include a ball.

Go-forward evasion goes to one of the main rugby principles of why we want better footwork – to go forward towards the opposition try line. This exercise builds up to game-like scenarios, so you can just use the first activity for your warm-up if you want.

Evasion is means you need to evade something. Step to the edge creates a visual clue of what to avoid. Players have to adjust to what’s in front of them, while still going forward.

If you want something a bit more chaotic, an old favourite of mine is Reaction squares. This has the players stopping, starting, changing angles, bending down and looking for space.

Finally, here’s a bunch of games and competition to up your players’ heart rates while developing evasive movement skills: Fun footwork games for really energised practices.

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