EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Tune in on position specific core skills

We want to improve all the players’ skills in equal measure, but there’s never enough time. Instead, work on specific core skills to match the roles and responsibilities of each position.

PASSING SKILLS

ALL PLAYERSHOOKERSLOOSE FORWARDS
Three to five metre lateral pass
Clearing passes (that is a pass from the ground)
Pop pass
Short passing in traffic (especially forwards)
Long pass after sweeping from a lineoutFive to eight metre long spiral pass
SCRUM HALFFLY HALF / CENTRESWINGS / FULL BACK
Long clearing pass on both sides
Good decision making factor in all passes
Five metre plus spiral passes on both sidesFive metre plus spiral passes on both sides
Wide pass in a counter attack situation (after receiving a kick / running across field)
Pass back inside (with one arm while fending) when running next to side line

PASSING TRAINING IMPLICATIONS

BACKS

  1. Backs can concentrate on long passing at pace.
  2. The receiver should be taking the ball flat out.

FORWARDS’ CONNECTION

  1. A 9 can practise his clearing pass.
  2. Forwards can practise their short passes and changes of angle.

After a base standard is reached players can be extended by using different widths for grids and channels. This means the players can be doing the same drill but with different circumstances. Time allocated for different positions can be different.

Allocate players certain roles in passing drills. For instance, a drill may be started with a half back making a clearing pass. For certain handling skills, like the hooker’s throw and the half back (9) pass, I would timetable special sessions.

TACKLING SKILLS

ALL FORWARDSALL BACKS
Dominant defender in tight situations
Good foot speed in order to readjust in both defence and attack situation
Cover players three to four metres wide of the ruck
Phase defence, getting into position at the side of rucks
Defend the pick and drive
Low tackling
Front-on tackling
Second man in (gang tackle)
Tracking from the side of rucks (following the ball carrier to make a tackle)
Tackling, getting back on the feet and competing for the ball (jackling)
Defending in tight situations
Defending a wide situation
Low tackle
Impact tackle
Front-on tackle
Cover tackle
Decision-making on when to commit to the tackle
Tackling, getting back on the feet and competing for the ball (jackling)

TACKLING TRAINING IMPLICATIONS

There are some non-negotiable skills in tackling, but after that your training should look to replicate the roles of the backs and forwards tackling.

When coaching tracking (following the ball carrier before making the tackle) thought should be given into width of grids and starting positions of both attack and defence. Outside backs should practise tracking in wide spaces, whereas tight forwards generally work in tight situations. So the same drill may be used with different grids for each position group.

All players must be able to low tackle but different positions must have time practising different types of tackles based on where the ball carrier is coming from. For instance, a pick and drive tackle is needed from the base of the ruck.

Develop tackling drills to include decision making. This is because players need to choose which tackle to use and which player to tackle. In particular, tackling practice for backs must be extended so that they are in defensive backline situations. That means coming up against an attacking backline from set pieces or from quick second phases.

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