Avoid slow ball at the tackle or even losing the ball by making every ball carrier far more active on the ground. Use these two exercises to build up players’ ball placement skills under pressure. After the tackle is made, the farther away your player can place the ball from the defence, the harder it is for the opposition to disrupt it. Encourage good placement habits with these exercises. MORE
Find the bib – playing in four dimensions
My “Find the bib” game is adapted from the game called “Drop-off touch”. It challenges the players to look for mismatches and also create them too.
Playing heads-up rugby is not just about attacking space. It should be played in four dimensions. That’s thinking ahead as well as playing what’s around you. In this game, players need to attack a point which creates a space in the future.
Start by playing drop-off touch. In drop-off touch, if an attacker is touched by a defender that defender drops off to a cone, pole or the try line they are defending before returning to the game.
At the breakdown, when the attacker is touched, they go down, long-place the ball and the next player plays 9. This can be adjusted depending on the numbers playing.
Now, put the defensive team into two colours of bibs, let’s say red and green. If you were playing four-minute halves then for two minutes the red bibs would be the only defenders dropping off. Then we would change to the greens dropping off for two minutes.
If there’s an error or infringement by the attacking team, they start again from their own try line.
OUTCOMES AND DEVELOPMENTS
I have found that alternating the bibbed players who drop off makes the attackers scan for that colour and should create more ball movement.
Initially, I found this game makes the nonbibbed team always attacking. So I added the rule that if there is any turnover then the bibbed team have one phase to score. If they do score they get 5 points as it is harder.
Turnovers come from picking up dropped balls or intercepting passes. I feel the turnover is very important as it is one of the best times to attack/move the ball to space.
Most of the time you have an advantage and hopefully broken field. To add more movement and space, the attacking team is allowed to kick, which adds another possible turnover element.
Ideally, you let the players come up with what tactics work, though they may need a nudge. We have started to get the bibbed team, when possible, to alternate colours in the defensive line.
This makes the defenders aware of what’s around them as this is important when defending in a match. I would add this in when your players get to grips with the game/rules.
When possible give each team time to talk tactics but not for too long, maybe 30 seconds, like in a game where we might only have that amount of time to talk. Maybe get a player to pretend to be injured and see if players talk tactics.
Or stop the game and call in one player per coach. You give them some information, but check to see if the other players are talking to each other at the same time. And this makes it game related, as players should be passing information to each other about the other team.