Safely introduce contact

By Mark Calverley, RFU Level 3 and IRB Level 4 qualified coach, and owner of the NZRFU Practicum award – the highest coaching award in New Zealand

Once players have been introduced to the techniques and safety issues involved with tackling and have practised it in safe controlled environments and drills, it is time to put it in to a match-type practice.

 Rugby Coach Weekly Banner Issue number: 966  31st of January, 2017  Hi {sForename},  It was faintly amusing to see Eddie Jones sporting a black eye at the Six Nations press conference last week. He's always been a hands-on sort of a coach, and in this case, heads-on.  England coaches have been known to put their players through the mill physically, so perhaps this was a revenge hit on Eddie?  Inside this newsletter:  Safely introduce contact (Last chance) Get my FREE Build a Fitter Faster Team report Plan for windy conditions Phil Larder's Knock Them Down DVD (Ends today) Get £5 off Colin Hillman's Expert Guide to Sevens How to boost your players' strength and power Quote: Rob Howley, Wales coach Must-have rugby coaching manuals We, however, want to avoid those sorts of injuries, so here's a session for you to work on building up to contact, safely and effectively.  I always give the players plenty of warning that we will be doing contact. That means gum-shields, head-guards and other padding are at the ready (and no stoppages as players race back to find the items).  It also means the players start to get switched on mentally. Though the body does need warming up, if the mind is not prepared, then players are likely to shy away from contact. Hesitations like this make injuries more much likely. You need to make the transition into contact training smooth. Once it's full on, then...well, it's full on!  To find out more about how to introduce contact and what is appropriate for each age group take a look at my EasiCoach U7-U16 coaching curriculum. Click here to find out more.  Also in this newsletter  I've been looking at some game plan options and I'm always trying to make sure there are plans for different weather types. I know I need to train for these, as well as the normal plays we would be doing from first and second phase in more benign conditions.  In this newsletter, I've attached a plan for windy conditions. Our kickers especially need to be prepared in their own minds for what to do when the weather is against them.  Also, see our fitness advice this week on how to boost your players' strength and power.  Yours in rugby,  Dan Cottrell's signature Dan Cottrell, Head Coach, Rugby Coach Weekly  P.S. Today is your last chance to get my Build a Fitter, Faster Team report FREE when you trial or subscribe to Rugby Coach Weekly. Click here to get your copy now.  Build a Fitter, Faster Team in Just 4 Weeks Fitness is key when it really counts, and if you get your players up to scratch now, it'll pay dividends in the upcoming months. Follow my special new year 4 week plan - Build a Fitter, Faster Team - and accelerate into the business-end of the season.  My four-week plan to get all the individuals in your team 100% ready for the rest of the season is based around fitness, ball skills and being mentally prepared for the rest of the season.  Remember, this offer is ending at midnight tonight so click here to take out a trial or subscription to Rugby Coach Weekly. Safely introduce contact

Lead in with…

Safety and building confidence remain paramount in your planning. A player who has little confidence in tackling (whether big or small) may be turned off – or away from – the sport forever. Introduce tackling on static targets initially – tackle bags, static players on their knees advancing to standing. Build up gradually to players walking and being tackled. Cover the key points: Body shape, sighting the target, footwork to, in and through contact, arm grip (“ring of steel” and leg drive, head position and speedy recovery on to your feet.

The next step is…

Using ruck pads where the holder wraps his arms around the front (top third) of the pad allows the tackle to be completed and the pad to be released. This brings in to play learning how to fall safely, get up quickly and drive over the ball or grab it.

The types of contact are…

  • The side-on tackle using the right shoulder (1)
  • The side-on tackle using the left shoulder (2)
  • The simulated rear tackle (3)
  • The front-on offensive (forward driving) tackle (4)
  • The front-on defensive (backwards falling) tackle (5).

All need to be done using the left and right shoulder and built up from slow speed to faster speed. Ensure tackles are done in space so tacklers do not fall on each other.

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