Pit forwards against the backs in this exercise to develop straight running and quick handling. It puts your players’ skills under pressure and the session can be adapted to suit groups of any size. MORE
Go to ground and gather
The ball spends more time on the ground in matches than we allocate time for in training. Dropped passes or aimless kicks are frequent so all your players need to be ready to drop on a ball on the ground, gather it and get back up.
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
Players should drop to the ground before they reach the ball and slide back onto it while gathering. Use a static ball to start then get the players to run back and drop at a specific marker placed a few metres from the ball. Let players experiment with distances and pitch conditions to discover the ideal distance to drop down and slide.
You want the players to drop with their feet pointing towards the direction the ball is rolling as it’s an ideal position for getting back to their feet.
- Chase after the ball, drop down onto your side a few metres before it, then gather it 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
In 20m x 15m boxes, split your squad into pairs, each with a ball. Have two pairs in each box. One player rolls the ball out five to 10m. The other player chases after the ball, drops on it and quickly gets back to his feet.
He then sprints back to the starting position (see picture 1). Partners then swap.
Develop this by grubber kicking the ball out for the partner then repeating in groups of four (see picture 2).
Add two support players for the counter attack.
Get a fourth player to roll the ball out and become a defender. The gatherer and support players have to beat him by passing the ball to score (see picture 3).
Set up a 6v6 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, make it 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”