EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Help! Lineouts training good, but in game time we’re losing too many

Subscriber question: We’re struggling to win lineouts in games despite looking good in training. How should we adapt our training?

Lots of lineout training isdone in what we call a closed environment. That is, without the pressure of the opposition. You should look to introducethis pressure in every session where you’re working on the lineout. 

Also, it sounds like you need to increase your options. You can’t survive with only one jumping pod, so investtime in creating another pod of players. Furthermore, you should be working with at least two players who can throw in the ball. 

Here’s a session that I’ve adapted from games used by former France forwards coach Didier Retiere. 

PODS IN THE BOX

Put two pods of three players in a 10m square.Each pod has a jumper and two lifters. Two hookers, one for each pod, circle the box, at least 5m from the edge.  

Call out a colour– that hooker throws to his pod. The other pod has to react to block the throw. If the ball is caught, thepod throws it back to its hooker. Repeat, randomly calling a pod name. 

DEVELOPMENT

  • Have one pod as the defensive pod. Both hookers workwith the other pod. Call the name of the hooker to see if they can hit the attacking pod. 
  • Add two more pods into the area, one to attack and one to defend. 

WHAT TO CALL OUT 

  • Jumpers: “Don’t bounce to jump, give your lifters a solid target to lift” 
  • Lifters: “Get square.Don’t lift on the run. Bring the jumper down safely” 
  • Throwers: “Set for the throw and follow through to target” 

PROBLEM SOLVING

Lifters not getting into position. The jumper needs to give a clear signal he wants to jump. Individual jumpers have different methods, so the jumper needs to communicate whether he steps into his jump, or bends and jumps on the spot. 

Lifters getting too far from the jumper. They should be touchingchests at the full extent of the jump and this can only happen with quick footwork to get the feet square. 

PUTTING INTO A GAME SITUATION

Work up and down a 30mstretch of a touchline, with five cones spaced out along it. Have two pods and two hookers competing against each other. One pod plays up the pitch, the other down the pitch.  

 Kick the ball to the touchline and shout whose throw it is.They run to the lineout and the ball is thrown in as soon as possible. Develop with calls and throws to the front, middle and back.  

QUESTIONS TO CHALLENGE THE PLAYERS 

  • What types of throw are you going to use?  
  • Does the jumper need to catch every ball or can he afford to tap down?  
  • What’s the jumper going to say to his lifters to bring him down?  
  • How is the jumper going to initiate the jump without giving it away to the opposition? 

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