The ball carrier must always be thinking about beating the defender in front of him, but there are times when contact is inevitable. The job of the ball carrier when taking contact is to make sure it is on his terms, to open up his options for keeping the ball "alive".
The power step into contact gives the ball carrier time and space to do this. It gives him a physical advantage into contact, even if he has received the ball standing still. Moreover, the technique works for all players as it is more about timing and positioning than physical size or strength.
The power step rugby drill
The power step is a "big step" into contact, which allows the ball carrier to drive from low to high and from a powerful squatting position.
- The ball carrier must keep the ball in both hands and accelerate towards contact taking small steps. This ensures he stays balanced.
- Just before contact the ball carrier needs to get low by dropping his hips (taking the squat position), whilst at the same time dipping his leading shoulder towards the tackler.
- The ball is transferred momentarily into the arm furthest from contact.
- The ball carrier drives into contact. He must keep his back straight as he drives dynamically up from the squat position. This allows him to use all the power from his legs and glutes (the muscles in the back of the upper legs).
- The ball carrier then follows through with the non-leading leg to ensure the tackler cannot recover their position easily.
Options from the power step move
When this rugby drill is correctly performed the tackler will be off balance and on the back foot. This should give the ball carrier a number of options:
- If the tackler has been knocked over or knocked back far enough, continue the run.
- Make a short pass to a close support player.
- Stay upright in a strong position to enable support players to either drive them on or rip the ball away.
- Go to ground to enable support players to ruck over without the tackler being able to get their hands on the ball.