EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

VIDEO: Building a contact activity up to develop learning

Here is a new contact activity, and how I would introduce it to players who’ve not seen it before. The activity itself works on good techniques in the ruck area and decision making around the tackle.

SET UP

  1. Put a ruck-pad holder in the middle of four players, who stand about 1m away from the pad.
  2. Have the pad holder rotate to face a player. The four players pass a ball around so that the ball is always opposite the direction the pad holder is facing.
  3. Make sure the pad holder is holding the pad correctly.
  4. Run this through so the players understand that mechanic of the activity.

SET UP INTO ACTIVITY

  1. Indicate that when you shout “go”, the current ball carrier runs forward to take contact. Get a player to show you how that works.
  2. Remind the ball carrier should attack the edges or corners of the pad.
  3. After the ball carrier has gone to the ground to present the ball, then the two players to the side of the pad run into support the “tackled” player.
  4. In the meantime, the player who is behind the pad holder runs in to challenge for the ball.

ROLL OUT THE ACTIVITY

  1. Run through the activity a couple of times. Each time check for understanding of the movement and reactions, rather the skills.
  2. With more than five players, ask the players to rotate their roles. With older players, you can expect them to share out the different roles. Younger players might need more guidance.
  3. Then indicate that you are now looking for good technical outcomes.

ON THE RUN FEEDBACK AND MOMENTUM

  1. Ask quick questions of the players as they rotate around.
  2. Keep the players active by chasing up the rotations.
  3. Praise good play.

CHECK FOR QUALITY

After the players have had a good chance to try out the activity, now start to coach the detail. This is because the players will be more comfortable with the activity and can concentrate on “winning” their contests, or “bettering” their techniques.

WHEN DOES LEARNING HAPPEN

You can’t tell if the players have learned the techniques/skills until you try them into a new or slightly different context at a future date. This exercise aims to layer onto their current understanding, and give them additional ways to solve problems.

Run the activity again in the next session. With the players being more familiar with what they have to do, they can explore the techniques in more depth.

For more rucking and contact techniques, try out these activities.

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