EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

VIDEO: Warm up with a wrestle

Get ready for a contact or tackling session by using wrestling drills. They’re great for conditioning and bring a competitive edge to training – watch our video and then try it with your team.

 

THE SKILL

Upper- and lower-body wrestling techniques for use in contact warm-ups.

HOW TO DO IT

  1. Split the players into evenly matched pairs.
  2. Each player puts his left arm inside the right arm of his opponent and then puts his arms around the back, so they’re hugging each other.
  3. On your signal, each player aims to lift his opponent off his feet first.
  4. Each pair goes three times before players swap partners, ideally with the winners from each pair matching up.
  5. To develop, one player lies on the ground with his partner on top of him. The player underneath twists and turns in a bid to throw the other player off.

COACHING TIP

Swim your arms inside theirs before you grab to lift.

WHAT TO CALL OUT

  • “Use the legs as well as the arms”
  • “It’s about attitude and whether you want to outdo your opponent”
  • “Grab, squeeze and lift, like you would in a tackle”

WHY IT WORKS

This “wrestle and lift” exercise is ideal preparation for a contact session because it gets players using the right techniques in a relatively low-impact situation. It also fires up their minds to be competitive in the contact area – winning the 1 v 1 contest. Run it for about 3-4 minutes maximum.

DID YOU KNOW?

Russia’s national squad has trained with Olympic wrestlers and several wrestling converts play in the country’s pro club rugby competition. “There’s a lot of wrestling in rugby – in the ruck, the scrum, in tackling,” says prop Innokenty Zykov. “Wrestling gives all-round physical development and can build a foundation for any other sport.”

A SIMPLE PRACTICE

  • Put a ball carrier and three defenders in a 5m square box.
  • When you say “go”, the defenders must remove the ball from the box. They do this by either lifting the ball carrier off the ground or ripping away the ball.
  • If they lift the carrier, they must place him back on the ground outside the box. They cannot throw him!
  • Develop by adding another support player for the ball carrier. The players can pass the ball between them if they want.
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