Denis Betts, former head coach of Rugby League side Widnes, spent four years as a rugby union skills coach at Gloucester. Here he shares his thoughts. MORE
This session concentrates on players kicking a ball ahead on the ground. They have to control it, gather it and score, as they might when pouncing on a loose pass from the defence for instance. They might have to dribble the ball, or pick up and pass it. Any player may be in this situation and it will be a good source of tries over the season.
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 players controlling their speculator or is it flying all over the place?Ask the kicker to use the side of his foot to begin with. This will not give great distance but will help with direction and control. Once this is achieved, the players can try the top of their foot which adds distance.
- Ask the players in what situations this skill could be used?The players should be looking for situations where the opposition have dropped the ball or a pass has gone to ground. It may also be used when the ball squirts out the side of a ruck or tackle situation. The players have to make a decision whether to immediately gather the ball or kick ahead and gather.
- Go forward and kick the ball with the side or top of your foot. Control the eight of your kick so that the support players can gather it.
- As a support player accelerate forward and gather the ball. If it’s not possible to pick up, kick it on again.
- Gather, run and pass until a try is scored.
- Begin with a static ball then try it with a rolling or bouncing ball.
What you get your players to do
Split your squad into groups of four players. Place a ball five metres in front of the first player. The group move forward and the ball is kicked forward. The remaining three players have to gather the ball, run and pass until over the line where they score.
Passing and running with the ball may not be necessary if the ball is kicked straight into the scoring zone. In this instance the first player there should dive on the ball to score.
- Add two defenders along side the attackers, facing out of the box who turn and try to regain the ball on your signal, with another on the “goal line”.
- Add two more defenders who start on the try line and defend the situation as they see it in front of them. This will put pressure on the accuracy and weight of kick.
- You throw the ball into the area to start the practice.
Begin by playing four versus four touch rugby and condition the game so that the attacking team can only pass the ball to each other by rolling it along the ground. This will give the defence ample opportunity to use the speculator to counter attack. Ensure each group has several opportunities to defend.
What to call out
- “Use the side of your foot to kick the ball”
- “Kick it for your team mates”
- “Pass to support players”
- “Score by diving on the ball”