I’ve been talking tackling to plenty of coaches in the last few weeks. That’s not unusual. Therefore, I wanted to share with you one of my favourite tackling “drills”: High pressure tackling reactions. I say drill because it’s a 1 v 1 exercise. MORE
Rugby drill to coach the grab and twist technique
Rugby drill set up
- A ball carrier lies on the ground with a ball by his belly. You may want to vary the angle he is lying at to better replicate different game situations.
- A defender leans over the ball carrier and puts his hand on the ball. The feet should be narrow to start with. Introduce the more correct wide-feet stance once players become comfortable and competent with the technique.
Clearing out technique
- The clearing player (the player who is driving out the defender) forces his arm (right in this case) through the gap between the defender’s left ear and left shoulder.
- He exerts pressure between his inside upper arm and body resulting in the defender’s head being tightly held (like a vice). This should be quite uncomfortable for the defender.
- The clearing player then reaches under, through and across the defender’s body (torso) and binds tightly with his right hand on the right hand side of the defenders waistband. (Think of a seat belt going across the body.)
- At the same time, he reaches over and across the defender’s back with his left hand and binds on the shorts or lower jersey of the defender, on the defender’s left side.
Rugby coaching drill tips
The clearing player now has the defender pinned in place with his hands crossed top and bottom in opposite directions and gripping the defender tightly.
The clearing player pulls up and over with his left hand and towards himself with his right hand, all the time maintaining the vice like head hold. He can assist the movement by twisting his body to the left.
The defender will now be twisted up and away on to one, unstable foot, and away from the ball and ball carrier on the ground. The clearing player remains at the ball and on his feet, ready to protect it or to pick it up.
Let players learn
Check players’ understanding by asking:
- How did the “grab” feel?
- Where are you going to put your hands?
- What height do you want to approach the defender?
Don’t forget to ask the defender for feedback as well. He will tell the clearing player how it felt and what he could improve on.
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