The trouble is that “skills” training can be quite boring because it has to be, by nature, repetitive. That’s not to say you can’t use games and gamification to make things better though. Why not try a skills circuit, with tight timings for each station.
Players work in groups of four – as two pairs – and spend 90 seconds at each station with a 30-second break. Give players a two-minute rest between circuits.
1. Explosive get ups
Two players start face down, chest on the ground, about a metre apart with a ball between them. From this position they have to get back to their feet faster than their opponent and get hands on the ball. The loser of each contest calls “GO” for the next round (see picture 1).
2. Hand catch circle
The four players make a tight circle with 2m between them. They pass the ball firmly round the circle so players have to work to catch it. The ball can be passed to any other player in the circle; receivers have to catch the ball away from their body (see picture 2).
3. Agility pole slalom
Players work in and out of the agility poles and accelerate to the cone to the end, trying to catch the player in front of them. Encourage players to be on the balls of their feet and take small steps to keep their feet underneath their centre of gravity (see picture 3).
4. Ruck drives
One of each pair holds a ruck pad low to the ground. Their partner starts prone, chest touching the ground, 1m away. He gets up and drives dynamically into the pad driving from low to high and moving the pad back 2m or 3m. Players swap after 45 seconds (see picture 4).
5. Target grubbers
Each pair has a ball. Each player has a coned 1m square 10m from his partner. Players stand behind their square and get a point every time they can get a grubber kick to stop or bounce in their partner’s square (see picture 5).
6. Pirouette sprints
Players sprint 5m, perform a full 360º turn and sprint 10m. They repeat this 5m, turn, 10m pattern, jogging back to the start every time (see picture 6). Introduce a ball. The players do a pirouette and sprint holding the ball then touch down at the far end. They then pick the ball up, jog back and repeat.