Balanced running

By Colin Ireland, Physical Education teacher with sixteen years’ experience working for the Scottish Rugby Union

Fluid play and keeping the ball alive needs the attacking players to be balanced and in position to offload the ball. The players should become comfortable with carrying the ball in both hands, work on this with this session.


Work on the basics of balanced running.

Set up

A 15m x 10m box. All your players. 12 balls, flag poles or cones.

Balanced Running

What you get your players to do

Players are split into four equal groups with three balls per group. Each group is positioned in single file along one side of the box. In the box are lines of flag poles or cones (see picture 1). On your call the first player from each group runs to the opposite side of the box, weaving their way through flag poles or cones (see picture 2).

Once they reach the far side they quickly make their way back around the outside at pace before handing the ball on (see picture 3).

Each player should repeat this activity three times at full pace.


  • Fast acceleration into the box and continued speed to the far side
  • Smooth, balanced changes of direction to avoid poles/cones
  • Change of weight onto left or right side to help change of direction
  • Adapting stride length and number of strides between poles.


  • Running across the box holding the ball in two hands then in one
  • On the way back, an authentic-looking dummy pass that involves a slight change of direction
  • Try getting the players to change the ball-carrying hand as they move through the flag poles.


With bigger numbers, increase the number of boxes and groups to ensure all are working.

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