EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Adaptive games: A coaching guide to “Hurricanes”

Don’t just play a game in training, make sense of it for you and your players. London Irish Academy Coach Development Officer, Rhys Davies develops “Hurricanes”.

THE GAME

The attacking team are overloaded with more players. Probably between two to four more than the defence.

If an attacker is touched, they go to the ground and present the ball, allowing both teams to reset (as in the game).

The defending team get the ball back if they can make a square hit.

A square hit is when a defender can get two feet facing the same way moving his/her momentum forward.

Options on a “turnover”: If the defence get the ball you can

  1. Allow the defence to continue to play with an underloaded attack.
  2. Have joker players who always play on the attacking side.
  3. Score the game by how many turnovers the defenders can get in a certain amount of time, which would mean they just kick the ball back to the attack the moment they turn it over to reset the attack.

Kicking: Allowed (and encouraged)

Numbers: See above. Say 10 v 8 or 11 v 7.

Youngest year group: Ideal 14+, though some more confident younger teams might be able to cope with this.

Size of the pitch: The larger the pitch, the more you can put the defence under stress.

WHY USE IT

Encourages awareness of space because the attacking team has more players.

It works on both attack and defence because the defence have a tangible reward.

A square hit is normally a momentum killer for the attack. Therefore a turnover in this game is a good reward for the defender, especially when they are outnumbered: high risk, high reward. When the defence is outnumbered the normal option is drift, so to get a square hit would be a power play.

As the defenders have less players it would be important for them to cover the space around the ruck to make sure the attackers can’t score easily down the middle.

To progress it, you could make it harder for the defence by making a defending player go to the ground when a touch is made, so they will have even fewer players on their feet after a touch.

TOOLS TO USE

  1. Stop the game in mid-flow. Ask the players what opportunities there are. Ask them to reposition themselves to allow them to make better use of those opportunities.
  2. Turn and go after scoring a try. The attacking team attack immediately back the other way.

ATTACKING FOCUS

Questions to challenge the players

  • What is the best way to get the ball into space or use the overload? Do you want to run, kick or pass?
  • How best can we create more space? Using running lines, keeping width, effective passing and kicking.
  • Can you stay alive once you have made a pass? Anticipate actions of the defence, and try to get another touch on the ball.

DEFENDING FOCUS

Questions to challenge the players

  • Can we stay connected and square? Keep our spacing close enough left and right. Keep the hips /body facing up the pitch.
  • Can we trap the attack? Show them some space at the edge of the defence, manage that space by moving up and then across and then closing down space when they are trapped.
  • How am I supporting the defence? Constantly moving, communicating, fighting to connect to teammates.

Download a printable session reminder sheet here: Hurricanes touch PDF

SKILLS ZONES

Examples for skills zones to use when you want to focus on an element of the game. Click on the links for more ideas.

  1. VIDEO: 4 v 2 chain
  2. Fast forward to create overlaps
  3. VIDEO: Boxer tackles to build better tackle technique
  4. Decision-making in the tackle

HOW TO RUN THE SESSION

You could put it anywhere you liked within a training session, but the ideal would be as a game in the middle block of the session.

Here are some more examples of adaptive games.

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