Use this game-skill-game approach to develop your players tackling skills and game awareness of how to complete the tackle. It focuses on footwork and shoulder contact. MORE
Force and finesse
Successful teams have players with both physical and mental strength in attack.
This session encourages all your players to learn when to use either power or skill (or maybe both) to beat an organised defence.
Warm up time: 7-10
Session time: 8-10
Development time: 10-15
Game time: 10-15
Warm down time: 7-10
What to think about
Your players need to be competent in beating defenders through physical force and skilful finesse. No matter what position they occupy, a player must be able to do both.
Make sure all your players practise both the contact and evasion aspects, even if they are more comfortable with only one of these areas.
Many smaller players can surprise bigger defenders by bouncing them off. Likewise, having big players side stepping is unexpected and can be very effective.
- Against an organised defence, choose one defender and attack them, knocking them back or to the side. You can spin off the defender or drive right through them.
- Once past, look at the space. Move and decide to side step, pass or dummy pass.
- As the support player, follow the ball carrier. Stay 5 or 6m behind before moving wide to take the pass or act as a decoy.
What you get your players to do
Organise the players into pairs of attackers with a ball. Place two defenders holding ruck pads and a third defender behind.
Have the ball carrier attack one of the two defenders with pads, making contact and knocking them back. Once through, he has to beat the third defender by side stepping, dummy passing or passing to his support player.
Beat the first two defenders by making contact and spinning off the pad.
Vary the starting position of the defenders to make it more game like.
Add two more attackers. Now have three passes before the initial contact and one pass after, before beating the third defender.
Take away the pads and play live tackling.
Split your squad into two teams of eight attackers and five defenders. The attackers must beat the defenders through contact and force, before using side stepping and passing.
Encourage the players to attack defenders one-on-one and remain on their feet, rather than setting up mauls and rucks. Once the attack breaches the defence, emphasise the finesse of side stepping and a dummy pass.
What to call out
- “Accelerate into contact and be aggressive”
- “Keep balanced and in control”
- “After contact, react to the situation”
- “Use a calm head to beat the next defender”