EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Pocket support

Pocket support is a very simple style of support play. As a ball carrier moves towards contact, a support player runs in behind him and “into the pocket”. If the ball carrier cannot pass laterally, or takes contact, he can offload the ball to a player immediately behind him.


Warm up time: 5
Session time: 6-9
Development time: 6-9
Game time: 15-20
Warm down time: 7


What to think about

All players should be comfortable in the pocket support role and know when to move into position.

When a defence is organised in close-quarter play, this is the ideal time to get in the pocket. In more open play, support players will be looking for space for a lateral pass (like a 2v1 situation).

Improve your players’ understanding and communication skills by making them shout “pocket” when they are in position.

Set-up

  1. If the ball carrier is approaching contact, get in behind them.
  2. Call to the ball carrier that you are in position, so they have the option to pass.
  3. The ball carrier should trust the pocket support player.

What you get your players to do

Set up two attackers with a ball and a ruck pad holder about 5m apart.

The attackers pass a ball between each other. When you shout “GO”, the attacker with the ball attacks the ruck pad, while the other attacker positions himself in the pocket.

On contact with the ruck pad, the ball carrier releases the ball to the player in the pocket.

Two attackers run at the pad. On contact the ball carrier turns and feeds the player behind him who has supported in the pocket.

Two attackers run at the pad. On contact the ball carrier turns and feeds the player behind him who has supported in the pocket.


Development

Set up the ruck pad, players, ball and cones as in the middle picture. One attacker feeds a receiver who attacks the ruck pad.

Either the feeder or following attacker gets into the pocket to receive a pass. The other player moves into position to receive another pass.

Have the ruck pad holder move up at different paces. Let the players work out who should get into the pocket. Move the starting cones around.

The ruck pad holder comes forward or stays still after the pass. The feeder or other support player has to decide who goes into the pocket.

The ruck pad holder comes forward or stays still after the pass. The feeder or other support player has to decide who goes into the pocket.


Game situation

Put three ruck pad holders (or just defenders) in the middle of the box. They can move side to side, or backwards.

Four attackers try to beat them with footwork and handling. If they are touched in possession, they have two seconds to pass into the pocket or the ball is lost. Give them three attempts before swapping positions.

If touched by a pad, the attack has two seconds to pass to the pocket support player or the attempt is over.

If touched by a pad, the attack has two seconds to pass to the pocket support player or the attempt is over.


What to call out

  • “Shout that you are in position”
  •  “Don’t get too close, be able to run on to the ball and into space”
  • “Keep your hands out in front of you, to give the ball carrier a target”
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