By Paul Tyler, Scottish Rugby Union level 3 qualified coach, former SRU rugby development officer and a qualified referee
Finding fresh and engaging ways to work on and improve agility skills in young players is a challenge. Most young players have good natural agility skills so practise them often and show them how and when it is best to use them. The warm-up is the best place to play chasing games and here are two games that combine agility, fitness and fun.
1. The magic circle
Put players of similar ability in pairs and number them 1 and 2. Partners start on opposite sides of an outer circle (20m across) with a smaller circle inside (5m across). Everyone jogs clockwise. Shout various actions, such as “jump up”, “touch the ground”, “pressups”, or “sit-ups”, which they do then carry on jogging. When you call “1”, number 1s run to a different point of the large circle passing through the small circle. Their partner tries to touch them before they make it across. Players being chased use agility, changes of direction and speed. Use Tag belts if you have them or make it a scrag tackle or grab. Once across, both players resume jogging round the outer circle until the next number is called.
2. Slalom scoring
Using corner flags or agility poles, set up two slalom runs: A long one for the ball carrier and a shorter one for the tackler. The ball carrier starts two metres ahead of the tackler. On your call of “GO”, both players run through their slaloms as fast as possible round the outside of each pole. When the ball carrier reaches the end of the slalom, call a number to denote which gate they have to score between. The tackler has to try and make a touch tackle before the ball carrier scores. You can develop this to full tackling once players are fully warmed up.