EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

The front row hooker position

Ideal characteristics for a hooker

  • Right footed!
  • Not perhaps as tall as other rugby front players in that team.
  • Reasonably flexible.
  • Aggressive.
  • Ability to take charge of the front row.

Mental targets (your put-in)

The clear objective is a clean strike – the onus is on the hooker to organise the props to allow this to happen.

If the hooker is not happy with the set-up, then the props must make the adjustments. The main adjustments to consider are: height, binding, and the feet position of the loose head prop.

Mental targets (their put-in)

There can be three objectives or targets when the opposition has the put in.

  • Target one: disruption of the opposition hooker by scrummaging on them.
  • Target two: strike at the ball if possible. This might not win the ball but may reduce the effectiveness of the opposition strike.
  • Target three: working with the loose head or tight head to put specific pressure on a member of the opposition front row.

Binding

  • Bind over the two props.
  • Try to get under the armpits of the props with grip.
  • Feel as if you are pulling in the props.

Secrets of binding

When the hooker prepares to receive the rugby props for binding, get the props to roll in (i.e. turn their shoulders inwards) and then once bound, puff their chests out and square their shoulders.

This should lead to a tighter bind, but must not be too tight to prevent the hooker being comfortable and able to move.

This article is from the Secrets of the Front Row manual. A ground-breaking coaching and skills manual that shows you how to get more power from your scrum and deliver top quality first phase ball.

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