EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Pod rugby

The use of pods, that is small pre-defined groups of players, used to be the preserve of the top teams. However you can utilise these groups to help your players gain more structure and, crucially, know where they have to run and who they have to support.


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

  • Are the support players reacting to the situation when their team mate attacks a space?Initially the support players are looking for a pass. They have to have some depth behind the ball carrier so as to take the pass out of contact at speed. Stand with the support players to start with. Help them position themselves and signal when they should accelerate.
  • Are the support players effective when the attacker is tackled and opponents are trying to regain the ball?When clearing the opposition away from the tackler you can get the two support players to weld together at the hip and shoulder. This will ensure they can cope against superior numbers and secure the ball.

Set-up

  1. Work together in groups (pods) of three, with a ball carrier and two support players.
  2. Aim to get past the defence. If stopped, offload the ball to a support player. If this is not an option, present the ball to a support player.
  3. As support players, start behind the ball carrier and look for the pass out of contact.
  4. If the ball carrier is tackled, work together to secure the ball and recycle it for the next attacking pod.

What you get your players to do

Split the players into two teams of seven. Split the attackers into two pods of three, with one spare clearing passer. Use bibs or coloured bands to identify each pod of three players.

The attackers have to score at the end of the area. They can pass, run and drive the ball. When one of the attacking players decides to penetrate the defence, only his two nominated team mates can support him. As the clearing passer moves into position, the other pod organise into formation for the next attack. Condition it so the defenders cannot play or compete for the ball.

Pod 1 attacks a space, with the clearing passer ready to get into position. Pod 2 aligns for the next attack.

Pod 1 attacks a space, with the clearing passer ready to get into position. Pod 2 aligns for the next attack.


Development

At re-starts mix the players up, so they have to quickly move and get into their working pods.

Support players weld together if the ball carrier is tackled and put to ground. Practise this against defenders holding contact shields.

Support players weld together if the ball carrier is tackled and put to ground. Practise this against defenders holding contact shields.


Game situation

Split into two teams of 10, with the attackers in three pods of three plus a clearing passer.

The game starts with a tap and pass. Scoring is achieved in the normal way with five points for a try, however a point is deducted every time a player from another pod gets involved in re-cycling and securing possession at a tackle situation. This enables the defence to chance more defenders to the breakdown to compete for the turnover. It is a risky option, since a pod can keep the ball and pass it to the other six attackers.

Start with this formation to help the players understand the pod attack system quicker.

Start with this formation to help the players understand the pod attack system quicker.


What to call out

  • “Accurate communication to the ball carrier”
  • “See the play evolve and decide what to do”
  • “Stay low and drive the opposition away”
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