Rugby drill session focusing on effective lineouts

Rugby coaching tip – prioritise!

Ask the players to establish the three main priorities for the lineout. This gives you and the lineout forwards a clear objective for this rugby drill session.

  1. Win clean ball.
  2. Deliver the right type of ball for the backs to exploit or the forwards to drive up.
  3. Disrupt the opposition lineout.

10 minutes – Throw, jump, lift: working together

A lineout functions because three rugby coaching elements come together. The throw, jump and lift. Each element has different players involved and so requires specific rugby techniques.

The technical part of the rugby drill session should take no more than 10 minutes, so there will only be time for minor technical adjustments at this stage. Consequently focus on three key areas in this part of the drill.

1. The throw: You need to work out very quickly what can be achieved by the lineout thrower. This will dictate much of your lineout possibilities because there is no merit in trying to work a throw to places the hooker can’t make 90% of the time in training.

2. The jump: The speed of the jump is more important than its height. So warm-up the jumpers by using a rugby warm-up drill to get them off the ground quickly.

A quick review of the technique of the jumper is required for better in-flight delivery and lift.

  • The toes must be pointed in the jump, chest out like a long jumper and hands close together.
  • The jumper should sight the ball through their hands.
  • The jumper should jump off the ground from both feet.

3. The lift: Lifters, whether they are turning into their jumper or running into position, need to arrive there quickly.

As part of the rugby warm-up drill, lifters can work in pairs, running around before coming together, opposite each other, then pushing their hands up, bringing their chests together. If they are not together, on their toes, the instability will affect the speed and height of the jump.

10 minutes – Pods and throws

In the next stage of this rugby drill session you need to work the “pods,” that is a jumper and two supporters.

Without movement, check pods for speed and height. Use a throw-in as a target, with each pod going up in reaction to it. Adjust the distances, going back as far as the thrower can, while still achieving 90% accuracy.

Depending on your side’s movement in the lineout, practise moving lifters and jumpers to specified points, again focusing on the speed of the jump during the drills.

“Tricks of the trade”

The lineout has so many variations and plays that it is easy to be lost in the “tricks” that have worked for you in the past. Concentrate instead on the essentials first, that is the speed of the jump and the accuracy of the throw. The tricks can come once the “trade” has been learnt.

5 minutes – Decisions over variations

At this stage in your rugby drill session you need to decide on the number of variations you can work on. In an average game you might have up to 20 lineouts where you throw the ball in. Having five variations, which work well, should cover the next game, plus a shortened lineout move just in case.

Your own 5m line: A key lineout situation must be your lineout on your own 5m line. At least some time must be spent on your options here. You should note that most international teams shorten the lineout, because there are fewer opposition players close to the line.

5 minutes – Defensive lineouts

The defensive lineout is often relegated to the last few minutes of a rugby coaching session. Unfortunately only about 5 minutes can be spent on this in the 30 minute rugby drill session. However, it should be the focus of your team talk pre-match because much of the defence will be about “out-thinking” the opposition. You will have covered the rugby techniques in the attacking phase of the drill session.

To order a comprehensive lineout playbook click the link for The Lineout & How to Win It.

Click the link for coaching tips for lineout lifting.

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