EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

‘Fielding’ the high ball

All players may need to catch a high ball – forwards from kick-offs, backs from open play. The principles of “fielding” include being aware of your support players and thinking what to do next. This session builds on those principles.


Warm up time: 5-7
Session time: 8-10
Development time: 10-15
Game time: 15-20
Warm down time: 5-8


What to think about

Practise catching with players in pairs throwing high passes to each other. The fielding player moves and uses the “three points”, that is both hands and the chest, to catch the ball.

Then, throw or kick the ball to two players standing 10m apart. Make it obvious who the ball is going to but encourage receivers to shout for it (see picture 1). Develop the exercise by aiming the ball between players so there could be some indecision unless they communicate well.

Set-up

  1. Call for the ball early and move quickly to catch it before it hits the ground.
  2. Turn your body sideways as you field the ball to stop any knock-ons and protect it.
  3. As you gather the ball, pull it into your chest.

What you get your players to do

Split players into two groups of four with one group in each 20m x 15m box. The players have to kick the ball from their area into the opponent’s area. If the ball is caught, the fielding team scores a point. If dropped or the ball hits the ground in the area, the kicking team scores a point. The fielding team also scores if the ball lands outside the fielding area (see picture 2).

Practise calling and fielding between two players. Aim the ball between them as they improve. Make sure players call for the ball at all times.

Practise calling and fielding between two players. Aim the ball between them as they improve. Make sure players call for the ball at all times.


Development

Ask that all “fielding” is done by jumping for the ball.

Tell players to catch the ball above their heads as a soccer goalkeeper would catch a cross.

The kicking player follows his kick and is allowed to put pressure on the fielder.

The fielding player must kick the ball back within three seconds.

The kicking team scores by landing the ball in their opponent’s area. The fielding team scores by catching the ball. Dropping the ball means a point to the kicking team.

The kicking team scores by landing the ball in their opponent’s area. The fielding team scores by catching the ball. Dropping the ball means a point to the kicking team.


Game situation

Split your squad into two teams of eight in a 40m square. Use poles 5m apart to mark out two sets of goal posts. Players can only run 5m with the ball and can only pass using a kick. Defenders try to intercept or gather a loose kick. Scoring is achieved by kicking the ball between the two poles at the end of the pitch.

The game is similar to Australian Rules football (see picture 3).

Players can only transfer the ball by kicking and can only run 5m with it. Teams score between the poles at each end.

Players can only transfer the ball by kicking and can only run 5m with it. Teams score between the poles at each end.


What to call out

“Get under the ball early”
“Turn your body sideways to protect yourself as you catch and prevent knock-ons”
“Move position after the catch”
“Look for space and kick into it”

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