Encourage your ball carriers to run at pace, looking to avoid contact by anticipating where the spaces are. This is a scanning exercise for just the ball carrier. They will make mistakes, yet start to become attuned to looking for gaps. MORE
Reaction squares space them out
Use “reaction squares” to get players moving into space with the ball in their hands. This is a fun activity and elements can be part of the warm-up to other sessions.
Warm up time: 5
Session time: 6-9
Development time: 6-9
Game time: 15-20
Warm down time: 7
What to think about
This session fires up players’ minds to look around for spaces. The better they get, the more balanced they will be as they move to find space. The pressure of a game situation will energise them too.
Footwork is a natural consequence of playing rugby. Evasive footwork should be natural too, so players remain in control of their bodies. This session pushes players to their evasive boundaries.
- Look up and run hard for space.
- Keep upright unless you are close to contact.
What you get your players to do
Put five balls inside the box. Get five players to run around the sides of the box (picture 1). When you shout “GO” the players have to run into the box, gather the ball and put both feet into a box in the corner before anyone else (picture 2). It will mean that one player will miss out.
If you have six players, then one player stands out and replaces the “losing” player. Set up more squares with boxes if you have more than 10 players.
Split into teams of four. Get one team to defend in the same area as the main session. The defenders stand back-to-back in the middle. Put one attacker in each small box with a ball. When you shout “GO” the attackers have to get to another box.
They have seven seconds to do this. The defence can grab, hold, push but not tackle the ball carriers. A ball carrier is safe once he is inside a box. Only one attacker per box.
Put two defenders about 3m behind three gates of cones. Put an attacker 2m behind a ball which is 3m in front of the gates. When you shout “GO” the defenders run to stand inside one of the gates. The attacker has to pick up the ball and go through the empty gate (see picture 3). He will have to look up as he gathers the ball to make sure he is not going to clash with defenders.
What to call out
- “Keep on your toes”
- “Fake your first step if you do not have clear run to the target”