EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Kick returns – don’t just throw away possession

Far more possession comes from opposition kicks than scrums or lineouts. You need to have a plan to use this possession – not all of it can simply be run back.

Before players make counter attacking decisions, they need to be aware of the type of kick they are receiving and the sort of chase.

KICKING POINTERS

1 SEEING THE KICK “EARLY”

The body language and positioning of the kicker can often be read before he kicks making it easier to anticipate where the ball is going.

1v1 kicking activities across half a pitch between the touchlines is a good way of anticipating space, how far the kick will be and ground coverage for retrieving kicks.

2 IS THE KICK CONTESTABLE OR WILL IT HIT THE GROUND?

Aerial skills are important to practice. Kicks that are put up to contest are often in favour of the kicking team. The ball must be secured in the air if you want to safely retrieve the ball to launch counter attacks.

For kicks that hit the ground, work on safe retrieval of a bouncing ball in ones and twos.

3 WHAT DOES THEIR KICKER DO: CHASE OR HANG BACK?

Having an ability to scan for space while counter attacking is imperative to its success. Seeing gaps in the chase line, space behind a good chase or floor space to hit counter kicks helps in the decision-making process.

4 WHAT ARE THE NON-KICKERS DOING? CHASING, MAKING THEIR WAY ONSIDE OR REMAINING OFFSIDE?

A disjointed line is the best to attack as there will be dog-legs and mismatches. It is also a chance to bring on a support player to hit a gap or create an overlap.

In training, use exercises that challenge players to reposition themselves and clear the danger with either running or kicking. It’s good for chasing and accurate first kicks too.


EXERCISE 1

The kicker kicks high and long to counter attacker 1.  Counter attackers 2 and 3 have to run back to cones level with counter attacker 1 to support. The chaser applies pressure on counter attacker 1, who takes the ball forward and should now have support either side to pass to.

EXERCISE 2

The winger is now positioned in the backfield. The kicker can kick to either the winger (Kick A) or the full back (Kick B).

KICK A

The winger has time to make a long pass infield to the fullback. Support player 1 has to work on the angle to create the opportunity for the fullback to pass to them (creating a 3 v2).

KICK B

The full back takes the ball forward and is closed down by chasers 1 and 2. The winger and support player have to react and get to them and win the tackle contest.

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