EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Priority skills for drop punting

There are 10 key factors for drop punting, but if you had to concentrate on just one, here’s which would make the most difference to your players.

CORE FACTOR

Drop ball straight in line with kicking leg

Drop punting is a straight, end-over-end type of kick that is used to increase the consistency of the strike and outcome. When kicking the leg will naturally move to “find” the ball when in the downswing, therefore, to execute a straight kick, it is vital that the ball is dropped straight in line with the kicking leg.

If the ball is dropped towards to middle of the body, the leg will swing out-to-in and hook or pull the kick. If the ball is dropped outside the body, the leg will swing in to out, pushing or slicing the ball.

During contact and follow through, the kicker must finish with their chest and body facing the target to complete a consistent straight kick. Below are a couple of activities to work on drop punting technique at low level and under pressure, use the key factors as coaching points for the individual working under pressure.

10 KEY FACTORS FOR DROP PUNTS

  1. Position hands with dominant hand towards the bottom of the ball and non-dominant hand towards the middle. Angle the ball slightly forward.
  2. Stretch out the arms with a slight bend in front of the body and in line with the kicking leg.
  3. Move forward with ball in the dropping slot.
  4. Non-dominant hand should come off the ball, with dominant hand in control of ball in line with kicking leg
  5. Take a longer last “power step” into the kick, planting non kicking foot firmly into the floor.
  6. Flex the kicking leg behind the body, loading up a powerful snapping motion through the ball.
  7. Drop the ball directly in line with kicking leg, be careful not to adjust hands to ensure ball drop remains consistent.
  8. Aggressive kick through the ball, with kicking foot locked into a pointed, hard position.
  9. Aim for chest to be in line with target at strike.
  10. Follow through the kick with a straight leg, whilst allowing non kicking leg to skip forward, before running through the kick.

TRAINING

LOW LEVEL

  1. One player is working in the middle of a kicking drill. The kicker receives a pass. They need to catch the ball cleanly and get the ball into the kicking slot as quick as possible and execute a straight kick to the catcher in line with them.
  2. The kicker must target for the catcher to receive the ball within the black cones (5m apart) for 2 points or 5 points for within the yellow cones (2m apart).
  3. To increase the pressure on the kicker, add in a charge down player to pressurise the kick after the pass.

HIGH LEVEL

  1. The kicker is working on their long range drop punting to space. This game works on the kicker’s vision and execution.
  2. Set up three target zones across the field and use two defenders to fill up two of the three kick target zones.
  3. Make the kicker receive a pass and kick accurately into the open target zone. It is important that the kicker rotates their body when catching the ball to face the target. That leads to them executing a straight drop punt.
  4. Charge-down defenders can be added for more kick and skill-execution pressure.
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