EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Five unusual ways to use ruck pads

Make more out of your ruck pads by using them for more than just normal contact training. Here are five unusual ways to exploit them at training.

1 BOXING SHIELD

One player holds the pad at chest height, longways parallel to the ground. A second player punches the pad for 30 seconds, then the players swap roles. It’s a good physical workout that you can, over time, increase the time spent punching.

Always check that the punches are hard. The pad holder can provide this feedback.

2 OBSTACLES

Make small-sided games tougher for players by placing ruck pads around the pitch as obstacles that cannot be stepped over by attackers. This forces them to play seeing what is in front of them. Alternatively, if defenders cannot step over them they create spaces for attackers to exploit.

3 PITCH MARKERS

Forgotten the cones? A ruck pad on each corner of a grid or pitch makes for easily visible markers. Also, if you want to make the pitch bigger, it’s easier to get the players to slide them into place and line them up.

4 TARGETS

Some individual technical skills can be tedious for teammates that act as fairly static targets. Instead, ruck pads make for clear targets. Tape a ruck pad to a goalpost at a jumpers’ catching height for a lineout throwing practise – it’s a better approximation of the area a jumper can catch in than a very narrow post and thus provides a more realistic feedback for the thrower.

Similarly, a pad at chest height taped to a goal post can be a target for a scrumhalf passing exercise.

Or a pair of pads resting against each other makes a target for grubber kicks in an exercise … hit the target and the pads fall over providing realistic success feedback whilst presenting a realistic target area that a cone cannot replicate

5 CRASH PAD

Several pads placed together creates a large crash-pad type safe landing area for highly physical tackling or clear out practices.

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