EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Create a deadeye hooker

Nail your lineouts every time with an accurate throw from your hooker. Here are the five key things to make accurate throws the norm rather than the exception.

01 MAKE IT A REPEATABLE ACTION

Throwing a ball to a set target is a closed skill. There are no external elements that will affect its execution. With such a skill, the hooker should have the same action for his short and medium throws, an action he does every time.

Should he deviate from this action, he must be able to self-correct. In a competitive situation, it is no longer a closed skill because of the opposition, the weather and the jumping and lifting players. That is why he must have a repeatable action which he knows will carry him through under pressure.

02 HAVE A SET ROUTINE

When a hooker arrives at the lineout, he needs to have a routine to settle himself and prepare to throw. It is short, sharp and easy to redo should there be a change in circumstances (such as the referee resetting the line).

03 THROW AND JUMP OR JUMP AND THROW

The hooker needs to know when to throw and what he is throwing at. At the front of the line, he throws hard to the jumper, so it will be the jump that triggers the throw. In the middle and back, he will throw to where he expects the jumper to be and that will be the trigger for the jumper. See Gavin Blackburn’s activity (link below) on throwing in to get your hooker used to reacting to a command and hitting a target.

04 PERFECT THE NON-NEGOTIABLE CORE SKILLS

There are many ways to hold the ball and several stances but there are two non-negotiable skills for hookers. First, to throw short, he must use his upper body only (otherwise the opposition will read the throw). Second, to throw long, he must push his hips forward then backwards to generate power.

05 REACT WHEN IT GOES WRONG

Once the ball is thrown, the hooker needs to switch back on. If the ball is knocked down, he has to be ready to compete if it comes back into his channel. See Ian Diddams’ activity on recovering the ball from a lost lineout.

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