Rugby drill for open play kicking

What you tell your players the drill session is about

  • Kicking in open play under pressure.
  • Pressurising the kicker and charging down poor kicks.

What you tell your players to do

  • Keep the ball in the middle of your body.
  • Strike through the ball so your leg does not go across the ball.

Drill tips to get players open field kicking

What you get your players to do in the drill

1. Warm-up

  • Stand two players five metres apart.
  • Have them kick a ball to each other, alternating between each foot.
  • Increase the distance once the players are kicking accurately.

2. Main drill

  • Stand three players in a line at the corner flag.
  • Roll the ball out into the playing area.
  • Have one player chase after the ball, retrieve it and pass it to another player, who then has to punt the ball through the posts.
  • Have the third player run along the line for 15 metres, before turning in-field to put pressure on the kicker only. Make sure they get their hands up early, with the arms in front of the head.

Rugby tips to work on players' punt kicks

Extend the drill

Develop the rugby drill session further with a game of "penalty touch" to improve the length and accuracy of the players' punt kicks.

  • Pair up your players.
  • One player stands 15 metres from the halfway line. He kicks for touch as if from a penalty.
  • If the kick makes touch, the second player takes the ball from the point it went into touch, walks in 15 metres and returns the kick.
  • If the ball does not make touch, then the original kicker has to retire 20 metres to kick again.
  • The winner is the player who forces the ball to go out on their kick on their opponent's five-metre line.
  • Repeat the game with the second player starting. Then change ends and start again.

Key rugby coaching tips

1. What to call out

  • "The direction of your shoulders is the direction of the kick."
  • "Drop the ball and watch it onto your foot."
  • "Strike the ball on your laces and point your toes."

2. What to look for

  • The ball coming off the side of the foot. Is the ball being dropped outside the middle of the body or is the kick across the ball? Either can give inconsistent results. They may be okay for some kicks, but not every time.
  • The kicker being charged down too often. How many steps is the player taking before they make the kick? Three should be the maximum.

3. What to think about

  • Remind the players the height of the kick depends on the position of the ball in relation to the player's body when it is kicked.
  • Do your defenders know which of the kicker's feet is the strongest?
  • Can your kickers change kicking foot to avoid being charged down?
  • Do you want your players to try the "drop punt"? This is where the kicker strikes the ball on its point. It is a variation of the Aussie Rules method of kicking and works better for some players.
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