Use this conditioning game to help your players develop better footspeed, evasive skills and stop/ start skills. It comes from basketball, and is easy to set up and certainly fun for the players. With thanks to Chris Oliver of BasketballImmersion.com, this is a conditioning exercises that the players will love. First, it’s competitive. Second, it has a risk/reward element which makes the players think tactically about their actions. Finally, it has some great rugby outcomes. MORE
Drop and gather
The ball spends more time on the ground in games than we train for. Players drop the ball or pass it poorly and there can be a lot of aimless kicking. All your players need to be ready to drop on a ball on the ground and get back up to gather it.
Warm up time: 7-10
Session time: 20-25
Development time: 10-15
Game time: 10-15
Warm down time: 7-10
What to think about
- Are the players drop early enough to gather the ball?Players should drop to the ground before they reach the ball and slide back onto the ball as they gather it. Initially use a static ball and have the players run back and drop at a specific marker placed a few metres from the ball. Let the players experiment with distances and pitch conditions to discover the ideal distance to drop down.
- Are the players dropping with their feet pointing towards the direction the ball is rolling?You want the players to drop this way as it’s an ideal position for getting back to their feet. Again practice this with a static ball. With some players, let them lie on the ground with the ball already in this position to get used to it.
- Chase after the ball and drop down onto your side a few metres before it, then gather the ball into your chest.
- When dropping down, initially have your feet pointing in the same direction as the ball is rolling.
- As soon as the ball is gathered, get up and be ready to move off.
- The whole action should be smooth and quick, with no pauses.
What you get your players to do
Split your squad into pairs each with a ball. The ball carrier rolls the ball out about five to ten metres. Their partner has to chase after the ball, drop on it and quickly get back to their feet. They then sprint back to the starting position. Partners then swap.
Develop this by grubber kicking the ball out for the partner.
- Add three extra support players for the counter attack.
- Have the player that rolls the ball out become a defender, who the gatherer and support players have to beat to score.
Set up a 6 v 6 conditioned touch tackle rugby game. After every two passes the ball must be kicked using a chip or grubber kick. This will ensure the skill of drop and gather is used frequently and makes getting to the feet quickly and counter attacking a big part of the game.
Once the players are comfortable with the game, take it into full contact tackling, with the same condition of two passes then kick.
What to call out
- “Look at the ball as it moves and react”
- “Drop, slide, gather”
- “Get up and accelerate”
- “Shout for the ball before you gather it”
- “Drop onto your side feet first”