Premiership – Newcastle Falcons v Harlequins – Newcastle Falcons’ Adam Radwan in action with Harlequins’ Danny Care and Tommy Allan
Too often we try to practise backs moves until they are perfect forgetting to consider what happens next. Mix up training so you spend time on both supporting a break or realigning to play if a tackle is made.
In Backs Blast, Sean Holley tells us how he improves players’ decision-making after the completion of a backs move. The key point is that players don’t always crack the opposition line with a move, so they need to realign and play what happens next.
Beware: If you are running in an unopposed session, the backs can easily just step back into another shape and play.
That’s why you need to get a defence in front of moves in training. And also change who’s available to be in the next play. Instead of players thinking ahead too far to where they have to be, they are suddenly faced with new information. It might be that the fly half isn’t in play or both wingers end up as centres.
Here’s how I’ve worked this session:
First, I recognise that you need 12 players ideally, but you can get away with 10 and one of the coaches as the feeder.
Then, I give the attack 15 seconds to discuss which move they want to use. I don’t want them changing too many elements. It has to be one they’ve practised.
We work from a “scrum”, so the defending back line must be 7m back at least. The spare 9 acts like the defending flanker.
Then we play. Use full contact if you can, but it should be at least a grab-tackle so you know if the move has been successful first time. Quite often it’s not though. Then you are into the second part of the activity, which is a 5 v 3.
SKEWING THE OUTCOMES
I really emphasise the need to break the line first time. I want the players to execute the move at game pace.
So, I tell the players that the defence will “win” three press-ups if they stop the first effort, two more for stopping the second and one for the last effort stopped.
That might lead to six press-ups in total for all the attackers. That’s enough of an incentive to make both sides work hard to win each element, while not making it into a fitness situation.
Keep rotating through the players and resetting the game quickly. Even after two goes I’ve found all the players beginning to puff and pant. That’s even more game realistic.
Also, the quick turnaround means the players have less chance to spend “chatting” about which move to use next. Someone has to make a decision and the rest of the group has to go with it.
It will be interesting to see how many times they revert to a “tried-and-tested” play when they are tired. It might make them think twice about when to use this play in the real game.
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
Andy Pollard, head of safeguarding for Yorkshire Rugby and former police officer, argues that safeguarding goes beyond a tickbox exercise. Ignore the full implications and your club could suffer. More importantly, your players may fall into the cracks too. MORE
The second receiver from a ruck or set piece needs to act as a ball carrying option or a support player for a close contact in the 10 channel. Often it’s the 12, but all players need to practise these skills. MORE
If we want to maximise learning and engagement for players, we need to kick queues to touch and offer them a practice environment that will capture their imagination and help them improve as rugby players. But how do you coach without queues? MORE
Don’t you just love it when someone tells you that something you’ve always believe to be true is wrong. I’m not talking about all this post-truth nonsense which seems to invade our media channels these days. I’m talking about the sort of information we’ve held as common practice and then passed this onto our players.
Water intake or hydration is one such area. Making sure we are properly hydrated is not an issue. How we go about it, or what the signs are, these do need revisiting. MORE