Shuffling and cross-over steps are essential skills for a defender to react to a change of direction of an attacker. Work on these in the development of your players’ tackling progression. MORE
High-return ball placement
Most ball placement drills are carried out without opposition – which isn’t realistic. To ensure your players learn the right shapes, use this low-impact session on the “jack knife” technique.
The “jack knife” – with the player bending in the middle – is the placement that occurs most regularly in a game. In all cases, the carrier must be in control of the ball and push it back to his team as far as he can.
- A ball carrier and a defender lie on their fronts 1m apart – use cones to show the distance.
- The defender indicates which shoulder the attacker should aim at.
- The carrier gets up and goes for that shoulder (he shouldn’t step out any further).
- The defender jumps up and tackles him, and the attacker places the ball back.
- Check that he has made a good placement.
- To develop, put a cone 5m behind each player and add another attacker and defender behind their team-mates.
- They support once the tackle is made.
- Again, the tackler dictates which shoulder the carrier runs at and the two support players compete for the ball after the tackle.
- Develop further by altering the starting positions of the support players.
- Reduce the impact by giving the support defender a ruck pad.
- Fight to the ground.
- Twist and turn to place the ball back.
- Keep ball under control.