Chasing and catching a high ball

By Eamonn Hogan, experienced rugby coach working with representative teams in the UK and the US

This activity works on catching your own high ball (such as a full back returning a kick).

Set up

Use three receivers, a ball and a kickchaser in every group and a wide area of the field to practise on. This activity can be run with several groups of backs at the same time but kick-chasers must be the ones who normally perform this role in matches.

Chasing and catching a high ball

What you get your players to do

Three players stand 30m away from a kick-chaser with the ball. The kicker puts the ball in the air for it to land where the receivers are (see picture 1). He chases the kick and tries to retrieve it before his opposite numbers can.

  • Chase in a small “arc” so the chaser doesn’t have to look directly up. A brief glance left or right upwards should locate the ball (see picture 2).
  • The chaser needs to generate speed while looking at the catcher.
  • Midway between the kick and the receivers, get the chaser to look for the ball briefly, then look at the catcher If the catcher has slowed down and is moving his arms towards the ball, the chaser should be able to judge where the ball is going to land.
  • From this point, never allow the chaser to look away from the ball THE RECEIVER THEN MOVES TO THE SIDE.
  • The kick-chaser jumps, reaches up for the ball and retrieves it (see picture 3).

Encourage

Chasing in an arc to assist ball vision . Jumping for the ball to catch it.

Development

Get the three receivers to hold tackle bags and surround the chaser as he lands with the ball. Chasing