EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Blindfolded

“Blindfold” your players to encourage quick reactions to changing situations, testing their teamwork skills.

WHY DO IT

By “blindfold” I mean get your players to turn around and face their try line, making them “blind” to the other team.

While the team are turned away, the other team get the chance to position themselves without the other team seeing. This can be done for the attack, defence or both.

Encourage deception and trickery from the blindfolded team(s). I’ve added some ideas in the sections below.

HOW TO DO IT 

This activity can be used over any size of pitch with any number of players.

I’ve found a good sweet spot is starting with 6v6 in the space between the 15m lines, the 5m and the 10m. I like to play five rounds each. So, Team A attack for five consecutive rounds while Team B defends, then swap and do five more rounds.

The team with the highest number of rounds won wins the game. For the attacking team to win a round, they must score a try. For the defending team to win a round they must win the ball or the ball goes out of play. 

Use normal rugby rules, but feel free to adapt depending on your own contact requirements. While the “blindfolded” team are turned around, give the other team a few seconds to decide their positioning and tactics.

Each round begins with the coach saying “go”, the “blindfolded” team turn around to engage the other team and play begins.

BLINDFOLD OPTIONS

Attack blindfold

With the attack blindfolded, the defence get time to set themselves and decide how they’re going to defend. 

The defence can set “traps”, spaces to attack to tempt the attacking team, or just set up in their strongest formation. Finally, they might  try to anticipate where the attacking team will attack. 

When the attack are blindfolded, start with the ball on the ground in front of them.

Defence blindfold

The opposite of “attack  with the defence facing their try line and the attack getting time to set themselves. 

Encourage the attack to deceive the defence by using their formation to suggest to the defence where they may or may not attack.

Both

Blindfold both teams by making them turn around, both facing their try lines. Again, encourage the defence to set traps and the attack to deceive where they may attack.

EXAMPLES

  • Set up in an NFL-style “I” formation with all players in a vertical line. This can be in the centre of the pitch or to the side
  • Split with 3 players wide left and 3 players wide right.
  • Split with 5 players on one side and one on the other.
  • Have weaker/less confident/smaller players together and stronger/more confident/bigger players positioned more isolated.
  • The opposite of the above, I’ve seen the defending team who used this have a small player on their team who called himself “the sacrificial lamb”. He was positioned on his own in space which encouraged the attacking team to attack near him, while the stronger defending players anticipated this.
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