EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Step and pass in attack

One of the simplest “weapons” in your attackers’ armoury is the “step and pass”. Here the ball carrier runs toward the defender and, at the last moment before making contact, steps to one side and passes the ball back into the space he has just run from. Meanwhile, a support player is running into the space to receive the ball.


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


What to think about

All ball carriers should “step” before making contact, whether the intention is to pass the ball or not.

The objective of this step is to draw the defender away from their original line.

The step and pass technique maintains continuity in the game since it avoids the need for contact.

The ball carrier has to prepare for contact, but only after he has passed the ball to the supporting player. This requires trust in the support player who must clearly call out that they are in support.

Most ball carriers step left and pass right without guidance. You need to encourage them to work off both feet and both hands.

Set-up

  1. Take the ball up to the defender at pace, step to the side and pass into the space you have just left.
  2. Support player: stay behind the ball carrier, tell him you are there, receive the ball in the space, stepping to the side to avoid the defender if necessary.

What you get your players to do

Stand three to four players in a straight line one behind the other and give the ball to the player at the front. The front player runs forward in a narrow channel. Make him step outside the channel after about four strides and pass the ball back into the channel. At the same time the other players follow up the channel to receive the pass and repeat the exercise.

You can make the passers run to the back of line after passing or just go through one cycle, before turning around and running back the other way.

Each player takes the ball and steps out of the channel before passing it back to the next player who is running up the channel.

Each player takes the ball and steps out of the channel before passing it back to the next player who is running up the channel.


Development

Set up the boxes and cones as shown in the middle picture. One ball carrier comes forward and steps one way in front of the set of four cones. His support player has to take the ball and step into the box at the side of the cones. With another support player, he has to beat the defender who now comes forward after the first pass.

Use “grab” tackles, where the tackler has to grab and hold the ball carrier to complete the tackle.

The first player runs, steps and passes to a support player. He takes the ball into the channel to beat the tackler with a step and pass to another attacker.

The first player runs, steps and passes to a support player. He takes the ball into the channel to beat the tackler with a step and pass to another attacker.


Game situation

Set up the channels and players as in the bottom picture. Call out to the attackers to move to either channel A or B. Player 9 passes the ball to the attackers who then have to beat the defenders, who have moved around the outside of the cones, using the step and pass technique. Use “grab” tackles or full tackles.

Shout which channel to attack. Player 9 passes the ball to the attackers, while each defender runs around one of the cones. Use “grab” or full tackles.

Shout which channel to attack. Player 9 passes the ball to the attackers, while each defender runs around one of the cones. Use “grab” or full tackles.


What to call out

  • “Attack with pace, don’t slow down to step”
  • “Exaggerate the step”
  • “Pass back, pushing the hands back towards the receiver”
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