Six Nations 2020 defence lessons: coaching activities

“Defence wins games”

Of course, that’s always half the story. But it was a vital factor in the opening Six Nations games and especially for France v England, and to a certain extent Ireland v Scotland. And, note that Italy didn’t score any points at all against Wales.

Crucially, any good defence coach knows that they can’t impose a system on their team. They have to work with the strengths and weaknesses of their squad. However, they will have principles that they think are important and will then concentrate on core techniques and skills to implement them.

Here are activities, drills, games and tactics to build your own system and defence environment.

In Phil Sharpe’s Whole-part-whole defence session, one of our most popular posts in the last month, you can build a complete training solution to give your players context.

Bounce out tacklers is a session which works on decision-making at the breakdown. Does a player challenge at the ruck or move back into the defensive line to be ready to make another tackle? Turnovers were a major factor in why England and Scotland often failed to score when they were in a strong attacking positions.

Smashing defence training with energy and purpose is a podcast with Katleho Lynch on how to design and put into place defence training that makes a difference. He has studied a wide variety of defence coaches, and brings many of those elements into his sessions. He helps make sense of the balance between tactics and technique.

Bounce-back tackling is an activity that is based on a Shaun Edward’s maxim, and many other top defence coaches: The defender’s job is not finished once they have made a tackle. A good activity to use with the whole-part-whole session.

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