When opposed by an excellent lineout, you need to decide which areas of the lineout to defend, how to cover the vacuum at the back of the lineout and how to beat that lineout in attack. MORE
“Core on” will teach players the significance of their core strength and how they can utilise it effectively in the scrum. The exercises replicate some of the movements that will happen in the scrum, so players get used to moving around as they scrummage.
Warm up time: 7-10
Session time: 15
Development time: 15-20
Game time: 15-20
Warm down time: 7-10
What to think about
Scotland U20 forwards coach Peter Wright insists that effective scrummaging is about core strength and players being able to control it.
Core strength refers to the muscles around the abdomen and lower back and especially the deep muscles in these locations. It can be developed using crunches, “planks” and twisting exercises.
The core is switched on by tensing the abdominal muscles and clenching the buttocks. Players should be able to feel rigidness to their posture when they do this. It’s important that players understand what you mean by “switch on the core.”
- Feel the difference when your core is “switched on”.
- “Switch on” your core as the scrum engages and keep it on until the scrum breaks up.
- Work at maximum effort for short periods of time.
What you get your players to do
Warm up activity: Form a tight circle of 5 players with another player in the middle. Make the player in the middle close his eyes, keep his feet together and let himself fall back. The players in the circle gently push him around the circle. He has to keep his core tensed, to keep rigid as he is pushed round. Work each player for 15 to 20 seconds at a time.
Organise players into groups of 4 so there are 2 pairs of players. Get each pair to bind together and lean into the other pair. Then they work together to move the 4 man scrum slowly left and right.
- Move the scrum slowly up and down in a controlled manner.
- Walk the scrum backwards and forwards taking small controlled steps.
Scrummage groups of 3 or 5 against each other. One team attacks and the other has to defend. Speak to the attacking team and tell them what you want them to do, for example “WHEEL RIGHT”. The defending team has to stop them. The attacking team gets a point if they are successful and the defending team gets a point if they stop it from going a defined distance (depending on the age and skills of the players).
What to call out
- “Drop your hips not your head to lower the scrum.”
- “Tense your core as you engage”
- “React to the movements of the opposition using your core strength”