EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

5 simple handling homework tasks

Every player should have their own rugby ball and keep it at home. Now make sure they use it too. Here are five simple exercises for your players to work on at home to improve their ball skills and coordination.

1 WALL PASSING

Stand facing the wall and throw the ball at the wall catching the rebound before it hits the ground. To make it harder, stand a bit further back and let the ball hit the wall then the ground and then try and catch it. Always catch the ball in two hands to start with. Better players can then try one hand.

Stand side on to the wall and walk or jog along the wall passing the ball against the wall and catching the rebound. Start about a metre away and gradually increase the distance with improvements.

2 BALL FAMILIARISATION

Simple exercises like passing the ball around the waist from one hand to the other and passing it in a figure of eight through the legs will rapidly improve hand-to-hand coordination.

Then, in training, challenge players to see who can perform the most consecutive figures of eight without dropping the ball in a minute. This can be a weekly challenge with a leader board displayed in the changing room each week.

On really wet training days, it can be done in the changing room before going out to train.

3 DROP AND REACT

From a standing position, the player drops the ball onto its point and catches it again on the bounce. By changing the angle at which the ball is dropped it can be made to bounce in different directions.

Players will start to develop an understanding of how a rugby ball bounces when it lands in different ways. To make the exercise harder players can start with the eyes closed until they have released the ball or throw the ball a few feet in the air then try and catch it after the bounce.

4 BOUNCE AND REACT

Bounce the ball off the ground (that means purposely pushing the ball towards the ground) and catches it after the first bounce. Aim to catch the ball in two hands and move the feet to the ball rather than reaching for it with the upper body.

5 TWO HANDS – TUCK – TWO HANDS

Start with the ball in two hands out in front then move it to a position under the right arm (as if about to take contact or fend off). From there move the ball back into two hands as quickly as possible then repeat for the left arm. Start off standing still and then progress to performing the exercise jogging and running.


WAYS TO WORK WITH HOMEWORK AT TRAINING

Demonstrate the skills in training.

Go into the changing room and show players how to use the wall. Ask them what makes a successful catch. Also, show them how to make it into a competition for themselves. For example, how many consecutive catches can they make.

Challenge players to spend five minutes a day on the skills, one minute on each.

Show them how to make it into a competition for themselves. For example, how many consecutive catches can they make.

Test out the skills in training every month.

During a warm-up give the players a chance to show-off their progress. They can work in pairs, counting out successful attempts in competition with each other. This provides them with an incentive to go back to do more homework.

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