EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Three-step guide to coaching first scrums

A bunch of eager but slightly scared young players face their first full scrummage session. Teach them the three steps to scrummaging heaven.

STEP 1

Good preparation means this isn’t their first scrummaging session. You will already have used warm-up activities and fun games to give them basic body positioning sessions, and noncontact games requiring these positions:

  • Feet shoulder width apart, toes forward
  • Chest pushed forward, concave back
  • Shoulders pulled back
  • Head not tilted

STEP 2

In pairs and on their knees, they get used to the head position (“head to the left”) and bind (up on the back or side of the opponent’s shirt) by engaging with each other in 1v1 mini scrums.

Gentle pressure is added and the players rock to and fro feeling pressure across the shoulders in a controlled situation. This also provides the opportunity to use the required engagement cadence (crouch-bind-set) for players to get used to and for the coach to address any changes needed.

Tell them:

  • Head in line with spine
  • Binds on the back or side
  • Basic body shape maintained
  • Toes and feet in line with legs

Next move them from their knees up onto their feet for a standing mini scrummage.

Young players usually find this difficult however as their trunk (“core”) strength is often not developed enough to hold them in place as they move up.

STEP 3

Finally, it is time to do it for real. In pairs but now standing and facing each other, on the engagement sequence players should adopt their basic positions. Tilting forward from the waist, players next fall into their mini scrummages.

Key factors to check here are:

  • Basic body position
  • Knees flexed
  • Binds
  • Head positions

The end result should look like a scrummage side on. Straight legs and a bent waist are not scrummaging, but a concave back and bent knees are.

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