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
Sharper angles, cut them open
This basic footwork session will benefit players in all positions as they attack defenders in close or wide situations. They will have to see where to run and change angle sharply and at pace to adjust. By Dan Cottrell
> Run hard at the first gap, then change direction when indicated.
> Look up and run tall.
how to do it
> Put four lines of players about 2m apart. Get the first player to run towards a gate about 5m in front of the middle of the columns.
> As he reaches the gate, indicate which coloured cones he has to run to after that.
> Once the first player has reached the gate, the next player from the next column goes and so on.
> After each run, the player returns to a different line.
> Push the coloured cones further back and sometimes change the colour of the cone indicated after the gate, so the player has to change direction twice.
> Get the players to receive a pass on the way to the gate.
> Put four defenders opposite four attackers as in the bottom picture. Each attacker has a ball.
> Call out an attacker and then, a few moments later, release a defender. The attacker has to get across the try line without being two-handed touched on the shorts.
> You can develop this to full tackling. The defender and attacker join the opposite teams.
> Drive hard to change direction.
> Don’t cheat on the cones – run through to the end.