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DRILLS

This is a collection of free drills that I hope to add to over time. I have not gone into a great deal of depth with the explanations for these drills but I do hope they can provide you with the ideas to develop them further to suit your needs or your coaching style.

If you require more detail or just want to discuss what you are doing with these drills please feel free to contact me through the contact page or on facebook.

Meanwhile enjoy!








Random Attack Drill

Random Attack Drill

This is a two stage drill that has a lot of variations a coach can use.

Set up: Coach sets up two channels each side of him, in this case one wider than the other. The narrow channel has two defenders, the wider has three. Narrow = Red, Wide = Yellow.

Five attackers stand with their backs to the coach.

The coach throws or kicks a ball and calls “red” or “yellow”.

The attackers gather the ball and attack the correct channel, the aim is to score

The defenders initially start with shields but can progress to touch, suits or tackle.

Stage Two: The Coach introduces a third channel in front of the attackers. This group has equal numbers in defence however two players must start behind the others and choose how to defend.

Kicking is permitted in this channel only.

Variation: Mix things up a bit and have the coach move around. By doing this each group will use him as one side of the attacking area, this way the red and yellow zones will be different sizes.

Add more attackers and defenders.




Tackle Test Progression

Tackle Test Progression

This is a really good high intensity drill that can get pretty "full on". If possible I would suggest having a local referee assist with running this session. This way you as the coach and your players will get a good picture on how this highly controversial area of the game maybe ruled in your local competition.

The first stage of this drill is the most important. The ball carrier must work to evade the tackler, this puts the pressure on the tackler much as he would have in a match. The tackler must quickly get to his feet and hunt the ball. As this is going on the support players from each side are to round the designated cones and approach from an onside position to either compete for or protect the ball.

Roles - Ball Carry Team

First support player of the ball carrier - If ball is still in possession 

  • Assess and either remove a threat, protect or promote the ball

Second support player of the ball carrier - If ball is still in possession

  • Assess and either remove a second threat, protect or promote the ball

Third support player of the ball carrier - If ball is still in possession

  • Assess and either be available outside the ruck to player 2,  protect or promote the ball

 

First support player of the ball carrier - If ball is lost 

  • Counter ruck or tackle new ball carrier

Second support player of the ball carrier - If ball is lost

  • Assess and either assist the first support player or set close defensive line

Third support player of the ball carrier - If ball is lost

  • Assess and either assist team mates, set defensive line or defend channels wider of the ruck.
Roles - Tackle Team

First support player of the tackler - If ball is in possession (turn-over)

  • Move toward the tackle area to assist the tackler to protect or promote the ball 

Second support player of the tackler - If ball is in possession

  • Assess and either move to clear the ball or be an option on the fringes of the ruck

Third support player of the tackler - If ball is in possession

  • Align to a position of use

 

First support player of the tackler - If attack is in possession 

  • Asses - Attack ball to affect turnover, Counter ruck , Tackle new ball carrier or set defence

Second support player of the tackler - If attack is in possession 

  • Assess and either assist the first support player or set close defensive line

Third support player of the tackler - If attack is in possession 

  • Assess and either assist team mates, set defensive line or defend channels wider of the ruck.

Notes:

  • Tackles are to be made in the narrow (Front-on) and the wider (Side-on) channels with players rotating roles.

  • Work both sides to allow players to develop their weak side.

Variations:

  • Initially start with 8 players (4 in each side) but then increase evenly. Taking a 1 v 1 tackle situation and making it 2 v 2 etc

  • Increase players unevenly i.e 2 v 1

  • Split the support players and have one or more approaching from outside the ball carrier.




Pass Multi drill

Pass Multi drill

This is one of my favorite drills and has a whole selection of skills involved. I use this in the latter end of a pass progression as a sort of "recap" which highlights depth, alignment, support, hand speed, re-alignment. It also incorporates defense alignment and line speed. In the "options zone" a coach can add what ever he may want to focus on such as 2 v 1, off-loads, pick & place, inside support etc.

Description:

Basically the attackers pass the ball along the chain while under pressure from the defense. The aim is to release the end player who must run between the markers (width depends on coach''s needs). All attackers must pass through these markers. Once into the options zone the attackers execute the skill nominated by their coach.

Meanwhile the defenders move quickly to re-align themselves to defend as the attackers also quickly re-align to attack back down the grid. If the coach wants he can replicate the initial attack set up and have an "options zone'' but may use a different option.

This is a great drill that can have players working at a high intensity under pressure.




Pass Vision (Bounce)

Pass Vision (Bounce)

This is a simple activity that can be used in several ways. In it’s simplest form the opposition remain stationary with only the back player moving. This player moves into space forcing the receiver to take the vacant option. Depending on how the coach wants the back player to move, the receiver may catch the ball and step if the back player moves late or bounce to or away if the back player moves early, allowing the pass to beat the defence. With either scenario, encourage the outside player to move with the centre attacker.




Team Defence (Basic)

Team Defence (Basic)

This can be used in a very simple way to help players to understand their roles in a team defence structure. Each team will have a variation of this basic structure but I find this is a good place to start. e.g notice in this diagram there is no player designated to the zone behind the ruck in a sweeping position.

 

Players here are named D1, D2 etc. the names used for these roles are different in many teams however I would be looking for names that signify their key objective such as to lead the team up or be solid and hardly move etc.

 

Drill set up:

 

Assign both attacking and defending players coloured bibs. Position the coach behind the defending players armed with a selection of coloured cards. Initially these cards will signal to the attack the option required by the coach. This method is particularly useful in the early stages of development as it allows the coach to target certain players or scenarios to help get the message across.

 

Progression:

 

From this initial teaching structure I would suggest removing the bibs and get the players to move around the field adopting these various defensive roles before moving on to one of the many more robust drills that can highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the chosen pattern.

 

Tip:

 

I always like to work the attack when running a defence session. This I find helps both develop and also brings a little more “spice” to a training.




Passing Waves (Short Pass)

Passing Waves (Short Pass)

This is one of the most basic yet misused passing drills about. To me this is the "bread and butter" stuff and should be the first actual moving drill you should do to assess passing skill. Get this drill performed well and the base is set to build a strong passing skill set.

Drill Set Up:

Divide players into equal groups (5-6 in a group is ideal). If the groups are too large it may be difficult to pick up any faults in an individuals technique. Once this happens then this is no longer a skill drill it is just a way to keep the players moving while you think of the next thing.

Space your players about 4m apart. This will depend on the age of your players so play with this one a bit however remember that we are looking at short passes and quick hands here. 

Have one group run through at a time with the ball being passed along the chain, initially start of at a slow pace and increase this as the players get into the rhythm of the drill. Be sure to have a few rugby balls as we want this drill to flow and often the last player will run by and not hand the ball over etc. and the whole thing can get messy.

Always be sure to work both sides of the body.

So what am I looking for here?:

Hands up is a good place to start!. I always want the players to get their hands up nice and early, even before they start to move. These hands are to be slightly out in front of the body and towards where the ball is coming from. Fingers toward the ball. I use the term "targets" when discussing the position of the hands, simply because that is what they are! It is a way for the person who is receiving the ball to say "this is where I want it". For players to reach excellence they must demand it of themselves and those around them.

I like to see the players fairly relaxed in the arms, with a natural bend and elbows away from the body. For me the ball is passed from the shoulders and not a rotation at the elbow as I often see. This allows the ball to be transferred across the body in a fluid motion at about lower chest height. This means the natural bend in the arm is maintained through the entire movement. By straightening the arms the ball tends to be passed in a pendulum action  across the thighs. By shortening the arms the shoulders tend to tighten up and often an elbow has to be raised to assist the ball across the body. Keep them relaxed!

Body shape! This is another important point in my view on the way to pass effectively. To me by running leaning slightly forward and with your head almost over the ball as it is transferred across our body, puts us in a more powerful and stable position to pass accurately, step, kick etc. This body shape tends to "lock" the hips slightly and stops a lot of movement in the lower body that can cause a player to drift or fall away from their pass. In essence it can help them to keep running straight, providing of course that they were running straight as the first caught the ball.

Release. While this tends to be a more important aspect in a longer pass I would still like to see some pointing to the receiver on release. With the ball travelling over a short distance there is not a lot of "swing" evident from an early or late release but there still may be some "rise" or "dip" due to long or short arms in a combination with an early or late release. By getting the player to point on release for these short passes may help them become more aware of their arms and how the ball travels in relation to their body.