EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Mirror ball

Run backs moves in a competitive format to force players to run the correct lines under pressure. This session/game will enhance “move” execution and decision making. It is best run as a unit skills session with the backs and, because players are running at each other, they will need to play with their heads up.


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


What to think about

The beauty of this session is that you can run it with just one back line plus one spare player. You can certainly use the mirror ball elements in your warm-up on the session before match day.

As with any successful session, the real test comes when there is competition. In rugby terms, the gain line remains a potent indicator of success. If the ball is delivered to the strike runner before the gain line when he is at full pace, the move is well executed.

The exercise works because there is PERCEIVED pressure.

Set-up

  1. Identify space/gap the move will aim for.
  2. Execute the move at pace and before the gain line.

What you get your players to do

Set out two back lines of three or four players, each with a feeder, standing opposite each other (see picture 1).Before the back lines play, dictate which “gap” they have to run through, so the penetrating runner is going through a different space to the group opposite.

Get the feeder to run around a cone before passing to his back line (see picture 2). Challenge each team to move the ball over their designated gap before the other.

Two backlines running a move against each other, with the perceived pressure coming from someone running towards you.

Two backlines running a move against each other, with the perceived pressure coming from someone running towards you.


Development

Change widths of the attack area, so spaces are smaller.

Make one group work flatter and the other deeper.

Make it into a competition – least amount of dropped balls.

The 9s running around their cones before passing the ball out. The pre-arranged move has the penetrating runner going through different gaps.

The 9s running around their cones before passing the ball out. The pre-arranged move has the penetrating runner going through different gaps.


Game situation

You need to change perceived pressure into actual pressure. Run a back line move against a defence, say 4v4, with a 9 passing to the first attacker.

Tell one defender to drop to their front and do one press-up before rejoining the defence (see picture 3).

The other defenders race up. The attackers run their move, aiming to use the right option to find the gap. If they break, then it is a 2v1.

Change it to 4v3. Make the defenders spread out with different gaps between them (say 1m and 8m).

Where one of the defenders is told to drop their front and do a press-up creating a hole for the attackers to aim for.

Where one of the defenders is told to drop their front and do a press-up creating a hole for the attackers to aim for.


What to call out

  • “Pass to bring players on to the ball”
  • “Keep passes above hip height”
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