Rugby coaching tips for kicking on hard ground

When the ground is hard, the ball runs further, bounces higher, and bounces less predictably, and players are less likely to dive onto the ground to gather the ball. That’s a lot of factors to take into account when you’re thinking tactically about  kicking from a scrum on hard ground.

Three rugby coaching tips come to mind:

  • Set Piece Kicking.
  • The Rolling Ball.
  • Drill Kicks for Territory. 

Rugby coaching tactics for kicking on hard ground

Set Piece Kicking

Since you gain advantages from a bouncing ball on a hard ground, it is worth exploring lower kicks than you would normally employ.

There are two areas to aim for, both with the idea of bouncing the ball in front of the back field defenders (the wingers and full back): behind the scrum or lineout and over the centres.

With your attackers organised and ready, you should chase the ball with at least two players. This increases the chances of regaining possession against the single defender as your players can run either side of the bouncing ball.

The fly half needs to practise receiving the ball in such a way as to initially mask the kicking action. One way to do this is to have the fly half stand deeper, run onto the ball and then kick.

The Rolling Ball

Kicking the ball along the ground means a receiver has two options of gathering the ball – swooping or falling on it. On hard grounds players will be more reluctant to fall on the ball, so make defenders turn and chase the ball, rather than being able to run forward to gather it.

To increase the chances of winning the chase, draw up the wide defenders by having the centres kick the ball.

For instance, the inside centre (12) can take the ball, run sideways more than normal and then push the ball with his kick into the openside corner. The running action of the inside centre should draw up the defence, especially the openside defending winger.

The style of kick changes for turning the defenders so they have to chase the kick, with the ball being stuck in the middle so it can roll further.

Drill Kicks for Territory

The fly half can exploit the hard ground by driving the ball into the corners of the ground. The target area is rucial – better to kick from a wider angle to allow less margin of error. In which case your players may well employ “wiper” kicks, which are cross field long distance kicks.

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Click here for rugby drills and tips to introduce kicking skills.

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