EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Blitz and drift

Defensive systems must be flexible to adapt to the number of attackers v defenders. Sometimes, even if you plan to run a hard up, blitz defence, an overload in attack means having to revert to a drift defence. This session makes players look up, scan the field and communicate which type of defence to use.


Warm up time: 5-7
Session time: 10-20
Development time: 10-20
Game time: 10-15
Warm down time: 5-7


What to think about

I have run this exercise through a number of times and different groups reacted in various ways. Some have used the core defensive skills immediately and managed to control the attacking force. Other groups have found it more difficult to first identify the skills or, once identified, implement them. Communication should come from the outside players in because they can work out whether there are enough numbers to “blitz” or “rush”, or whether they have to “drift” or “slide”.

Set-up

  1. Look up and number off. If you have equal or more defenders then “blitz” or “rush”.
  2. If you have less defenders than attackers then “drift” or “slide”.
  3. Communicate which type of defence early.

What you get your players to do

Set up a series of different coloured cones as in the top picture. Group four attackers and a No. 9 and at least seven defenders at the side. Shout “GO” and the attackers must align themselves whilst the defenders move to each stand over one of the coloured cones. Now shout out one or two colours. Defenders on those cones move forward to form a defensive line. Tell the attackers to play and the defence have to react with the best defensive system. The system is best tested under full contact conditions.

Set up different coloured cones in an area of the pitch. On your command the attackers align themselves and defenders run to coloured cones.

Set up different coloured cones in an area of the pitch. On your command the attackers align themselves and defenders run to coloured cones.


Development

  1. Adjust the number of attackers and the width of the playing area.
  2. Call out a colour, delay and then call out another. As the players are getting into position set off the attack, so the defenders have to adjust their systems.

 

Shout out one or more colours. The defenders by the respective cones move forward. If there are more attackers than defenders, the defence drifts.

Shout out one or more colours. The defenders by the respective cones move forward. If there are more attackers than defenders, the defence drifts.


Game situation

Split your team in half, with one group attacking and the other defending. Give each player in one group a letter A, B, C or D and the other group E,F,G and H.

Play a game where any tackle becomes a 5 to 10 second “ruck” where the attack can play the ball after a nominated time. Allow kicking, so two defenders must cover behind their defensive line.

If there is a tackle, you can call out one or more letters and those attackers and defenders have to kneel by the tackle. This should provide overloads in attack or defence.

If there are more defenders than attackers, then the defenders can choose to blitz.

If there are more defenders than attackers, then the defenders can choose to blitz.


What to call out

  • “Scan and communicate as you are running into position”
  • “Call from the outside in”
  • “Keep your line as you move up in defence”
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