If you are a good decision maker, you’ll keep your head up and look at the defence before acting. To develop players capable of making quick decisions, you need to give them plenty of opportunities to practise this technique under pressure.
Here’s a simple exercise to set and improve your players’ ability to play heads up rugby.
Set up a three versus two rugby drill in favour of the attack. The ball always starts with the middle player of the attacking three.
Stand behind the defenders. As the attackers start, hold up a coloured cone. The ball carrier has to shout out the colour of the cone as he is analysing the defence and making his decision about how and where to attack.
As your players improve, you can change cones during the attack, so all the ball carriers have to constantly scan what is in front of them while attacking.
Easier to harder
Some players may find this rugby drill very difficult at first. If so, let them walk through the rugby drill to start with before increasing the pace.
Or, start with a three v one.
Use the cones to indicate different passes/kicks that have to be used. For example, a yellow cone means only one hand passes, a blue cone means a kick after every pass.
Since the defence doesn’t know the signal, the attackers at least have a chance to surprise the defenders.
Work on the backs’ fitness while working on their running lines and drift defence. It’s competitive and they will make every effort to break the line each time.
The session focuses the players on realignment – with the players being dropped out of the line at each phase, there needs to be good communication on who is first receiver and what lines to run. MORE
Work on the roles and skills of the attackers and defenders closest to the tackle area in a tight space. This activity puts the players in game-like situations to look for solutions.
Though there are some principles to follow, this activity will give the players an opportunity to try out different ideas. Expect messy outcomes. MORE
Work from left to right and back a number of times up a channel, aiming to keep possession and go forward at the same time.
It is a tactic that can be used to retain possession when running down the clock or to set up a drop goal. MORE