Get your defensive structure right at the breakdown to ensure you don’t give away easy metres. Your players need to know their responsibilities to stop opponents “going through the guts”. MORE
Good defence relies on both individual and collective skills. “Chaos defending” exposes your players to situations where they can develop the full set of defensive skills to achieve success.
Warm up time: 7-10
Session time: 8-10
Development time: 10-15
Game time: 15-20
Warm down time: 7-10
What to think about
Good defence is about getting four basics right.
- Scanning – Defenders constantly need to look across the attacking line to see where the threat is likely to come from. If they ball watch or just focus on their man, gaps will appear in their line.
- Communication – Communication must be constant with the players on either side. Players need to identify who they are tackling and communicate changing situations as the attack develops.
- Footwork – Defenders have to move forward and react to the sideways movement of their opposite man.
- Teamwork – Players should defend in groups of three and build up the line like a chain. This ensures no gaps are left and everyone knows who is tackling whom.
- Talk non-stop to the players on either side of you.
- Point at the player you are going to tackle.
- Stay on the balls of your feet when moving sideways and forward.
- Demonstrate good front on tackle technique and stay in control of the tackle.
What you get your players to do
Start two lines of four players facing each other about 5 metres apart. One line attacks, moving left and right as a line, passing the ball back and forth. The defending line mirrors their movements, each defender trying to stay opposite their man.
Stand behind the defenders and signal to the attackers where to move. When you put both hands in the air, the attackers move forward. The defenders move up, tackle and drive them back.
- When the attackers move forward the ball carrier has to be double tackled. The players either side of him have to be tackled as well leaving the outside man free.
- Drop one attacker back as a floating player (see the bottom picture). He can run where he likes along the attacking line. When you signal for the attackers to move forward, he runs into the space in front of him. All four attacking players have to be tackled.
Play six attackers against four defenders. Use two-handed touch tackles on the chest so defenders have to get in front of the ball carrier.
The attackers can only pass in one direction during the phase (between tackles) and have to score within six tackles. If the defenders make a double tackle, the attack is over.
What to call out
- “Arm up and point at who you’re going to tackle”
- “Keep your head up through the tackle”
- “Hit, lift a leg and drive back”
- “Feet in front and drive through the tackle”