EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

How to coach ball placement in contact

A skill is a correctly selected technique performed under pressure. There are a number of skills in rugby that don’t need players to be ‘skilful’, they just need players to perform them quickly. One of those is ball placement.

Good ball placement gives the attacking team a greater chance of retaining the ball in the contact area and therefore continuing the attack.

Use Attacking ball placement, a session from our EasiCoach curriculum, to help younger players understand how to get into the correct positions for ball placement.

More experienced players can use a style of ball placement called Turtle and Snap. Mark Mapletoft, assistant coach at Harlequins, sets out how to coach this technique and then put it into a warm-up exercise.

For a full session, try out the Practice Plan called Ball placement, which demonstrates the need to use a variety of styles of placement, depending on the type of contact a player takes.

Finally, you can use Eamonn Hogan’s Jack-knife drill to practise ball placement in a game-like context.

Here are my top tips for ball placement:

  • Fight to the ground after the tackle, making it harder to steal the ball.
  • Make a movement on the ground, like a roll or twist, before placing the ball.
  • Place the ball back with two hands, to keep control of the ball.
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