EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

A warm-up for offload skills (plus a daring idea to try out!)

Keep the ball alive after the tackle. That means avoiding a ruck, or a chance for the opposition to steal the ball.

Passing the ball in the tackle or after the tackle is called an offload. Unlike a normal pass, the passer is often compromised. That’s why I like the exercise, Soft-landing offload skills, where the ball carrier is falling over as they pass.

First, it gives players the confidence to try out this sort of pass.

Second, because the player is landing on a pad, they forget the ground and landing on it. That’s more like a tackle, where the ball carrier thinks about the tackler, not the ground.

I run through it in a warm-up, with clear guidance on the following:

  1. How to fall.
  2. How to lift the ball into the path of the supporting player, not pass.

After that, I let the players work out their own methods. When the ground is hard, the pad offers even more protection to the knees, hips and shoulders.

You could use this as a breakout exercise during a touch game. In the touch game, if the player is touched and they can’t pass immediately, they must fall to the ground before passing. So, you can stop the game, run this exercise for a couple of minutes, before returning to the game.

ARE YOU BRAVE ENOUGH?

I’ve not mentioned this in the attached session, but if you feel brave enough, you can try this: When the player falls to the ground, they have to close their eyes and then pass. This gives more “feel” for the pass.

The supporting player has to read the movements of the ball carrier more carefully plus give them more information with their call. Be patient with this one. The results might not be immediate…but they do give the players a real sense of achievement when the pass is completed!

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