This is an adaptation of a game I use in school. It’s great as a warm-up or as a game to encourage and support creativity before moving towards a more rugby-specific game. It encourages and challenges evasion skills, spatial awareness, communication, as well as passing, kicking and catching.
To start with, have a normal rectangular playing area with four 5m corners marked out. You could start with the balls in the middle. However, you can run the risk of collisions, so it may be best to start with equal amounts in each coned area/corner/den.
It doesn’t matter how many balls there are, you may need to add more or take some away depending on how the game plays out.
You can extend this to having a three or four-way pitch but each team needs a coned area (I call them dens when using it in PE) for other teams to put their balls.
The team with the most balls in their corners/dens loses, the aim is to “score” by putting balls into the opposition dens.
Balls can be passed or kicked in any direction, there are no offsides.
Start with touch or tag, no contact, look to introduce contact when appropriate.
If a player is tackled you can either make them leave the ball where they were tackled and retreat back to one of their dens before rejoining, or let them take the ball back with them to one of their dens before rejoining.
If a ball leaves the area, just let a player go out to get it and bring it back in, no tackling or contact outside the area. If two players try to go then the coach takes the ball and recirculates it into the game.
If a player leaves the area, they need to return to one of their dens before returning to the game.
POSSIBLE PROGRESSIVE GAME
No passing or kicking. Players aim to put a ball in the opposition dens. Every player has a bib tucked in their shorts or use tag rugby tags if you have them. If a bib or tag is taken the player drops the ball and must go back to one of their corners before rejoining the game. This game focuses on 1v1 skills of evasion and defensive tracking and position. You can extend to allowing contact tackles.
Allow passing, no offsides. You can continue with touch or tag tackling or allow contact. Focus on passing skills, taking advantage of 2v1 opportunities, draw and pass, different types of pass, allow offloads to encourage support.
Allow kicking, no offsides. Players now have the option to kick, so they can kick to teammates in opposition dens. This is a good opportunity to support high ball catching and competing.
You can add a halfway line and introduce a rule that you can only be tackled in the opposition half. This can encourage teams to have defenders and attackers, and to create a game plan.
Ged Hall challenges players to be effective in finding space and passing, either on their feet or from the ground (the deck!). Good for fitness as well as decision-making.
Deck hands is seemingly a very simple game to play, but beneath its simple exterior is a game that challenges players physically, mentally, tactically and technically. MORE
Twenty years of writing about coaching makes you reflective. I did use games 20 years ago. I invented some at the time, and still use variations of them. You would think by now I would have seen them all. MORE
Use this quick-to-set-up game, including an easy-to-adapt playground element, with rewards and forfeits thrown in.
This is a game I will use at the start of sessions as a pulse raiser, sprint activation and to develop realistic evasion skills. It takes less than a minute to set up and can be played with three or more players. MORE
Use this game and its variation to create opportunities for players to make decisions on when to attack open or go back to the blindside. Create opportunities to stretch the defence and then attack where they are weakest. MORE