Rich Clarke, a highly qualified S&C coach, university lecturer and evidence-based trainer, talks us through how we can make simple changes to improve our agility training. He explains how we can use constraints, ensure a specific stimulus and where we might start with less athletic players. MORE
Urgent ruck pods
This is bread and butter ruck work. Groups of three players operate together to ensure the ball is won at every contact. It is super-quick ball. The tackle is made, the next two players clear the area of threats, and the ball is away to the next breakdown.
Warm up time: 5
Session time: 6-9
Development time: 8-12
Game time: 15-20
Warm down time: 7
What to think about
The triangle shape forces players to work hard to be in good positions to support the ball carrier.
The danger is that the support players do not turn the corner quickly or take lazy running lines.
They need to see where the ball carrier is going, identify the threats to the ball on the ground, and win the race to stop the threats becoming real.
Keep the session urgent. Note any technical errors, and then work on those in a separate session at a future date.
- Position yourself to be able to drive square at the contact.
- Recover quickly from the ground or contact to be ready for the next phase.
- Look up and ahead for threats.
What you get your players to do
Set out players, balls and pads as in the top picture. The three attackers run around the first cone and into the first ruck pad. As they come around the first cone, the defenders can stand over the pads. The attackers have to drive them off the ball.
Once the ball has been won (or lost), you shout for the next ruck. The defenders go to the next ruck pad and the attackers run around the next cone to begin the next ruck. Repeat for the whole triangle. Adjust the outside cones to create different angles.
Use two groups of three attackers. Position the defenders as in the middle picture. The first group of attackers drives into the pads in column 1, takes a tackle, rucks and recycles the ball.
The ball is passed to the second group which repeats, though the non-pad defender will go for the ball. Repeat into the third column with the first set of attackers again and finally, the second set of attackers go into the last column, where the ruck pads holders from column 1 act as a normal defence without pads.
Create two teams of six attackers and defenders. Split each of these teams into two sets of three.
Starting at the side of the box, the first three take the ball into the first three defenders. If the ball is recycled, then this is repeated with the next three.
The ball is recycled and passed the same way each time. If the attack cannot recycle within four seconds, then the game restarts with the other team. Only one pass is allowed from each ruck.
What to call out
- “Communicate what you are doing”
- “Stay on your feet in the contact”
- “Dominate the contact area”