EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Cut it up

Switch passes, also known as cut passes, should be a natural part of the passing armory and used by all players. This session uses a simple exercise which can be set up with lots of stations for lots of activity. Players will quickly learn that timing and angles are as important as the pass itself.


Warm up time: 5-7
Session time: 8-10
Development time: 5-7
Game time: 10-15
Warm down time: 5-7


What to think about

  • My players are just running sideways after receiving a switch pass – what can I do?This is a common situation with less experienced players. To them it seems they are running a long way with the ball but actually they are not getting anywhere. Give the runner a target to aim at after he has received the switch pass. Put a ruck pad in front of him so when he gets the ball he has to straighten up to hit the pad.
  • The players make it too obvious what the move is which means the receiver is always tackled easily.As players improve at the skill they will learn when to give the pass and when to hold the ball and run themselves. By shielding the ball from the opposition when giving the pop pass it is easier to give a convincing dummy pass and run.

Set-up

  1. Run straight to fix the defender.
  2. Change direction sharply and run across the pitch.
  3. Support runner: change direction after the ball carrier and run onto a short pop pass
  4. Straighten up and accelerate after receiving the pass.

What you get your players to do

Two players run up each side of a channel. Halfway to the first cone the ball carrier runs across it diagonally. The support player runs the opposite diagonal and receives a short pop pass as the players cross.

Both players straighten up when they reach the other side the repeat the exercise.

The players have to realign quickly after each switch pass.

The players have to realign quickly after each switch pass.


Development

Add a defender at each of the cones on one side of the channel. The defender follows the ball carrier as he moves towards the cone, but not the receiver once the pass is made. This creates space for the receiver. The next defender does the same once the new ball carrier runs towards him.

Next move the defenders into the middle of the channel, one between each pair of cones marking its top and bottom. The defenders now decide whether to follow the ball carrier or the intended receiver. The defender cannot move until the ball carrier beats the previous defender.

Challenge the attackers to beat all three defenders. If they fail they have to start again.

The defender follows the ball carrier and opens up the space for the support runner.

The defender follows the ball carrier and opens up the space for the support runner.


Game situation

Four attackers score at the end of the box against three defenders. The defenders only move from side to side and stop the attack with a one handed touch. The attackers only score if the attack includes a switch or dummy move.

When a try is scored or an attack is stopped the attackers start again. Give the attackers one minute to score, before swapping players around.

Players use at least one switch or dummy to find a gap in the defence and score.

Players use at least one switch or dummy to find a gap in the defence and score.


What to call out

  • “Ball carrier: change direction first. Support player: react to them”
  • “Support player: accelerate onto the ball”
  • “Straighten up after the move”
  • “Soft hands to give the pop pass”
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