Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Three ways for faster hands *Handling*

By Paul Tyler, a Level 3 coach, teacher and contributing editor of Rugby Coach Weekly

"Fast hands" is the ability to move the ball from player to player quickly and so create continuity and attacking opportunities. Here are three exercises to improve your players' fast hands.

Cross pass

One player stands in the middle of four others, each of whom has a ball. The middle player receives a pass from one of the four outside players and immediately gives a pass back to the same player. He then turns to receive a pass from the next player.
He works for 30 seconds and counts how many passes he manages to take and give in that time. Challenge the other players to beat his score.
Emphasise that the ball must be caught as early as possible with "soft hands" to cushion the impact. The return pass should be given in the same movement without bringing the ball near the body.

Pressure gates

Instruct a player run to through three pairs of players, each with a ball, standing about 3m apart. One of the pair passes the ball to the runner who passes it on to the other player in the pair. Make sure the first pass is a good pass and the receivers are showing good targets.

Head to head

Set out five cones either side of a line to denote the starting positions for the two teams.
On your whistle, the scrum half passes the ball to the first player, to pass it on to every player until the last player scores. No player can cross the line or his team are disqualified, this ensures players hold their depth.
Set up a similar set of cones to get players passing off the left hand as well and alternate between the two teams. The first team to score gets a point. The first team to three points wins.

This article is from Rugby Coach Weekly.

Miss 12 (M1) double loop *back move*

* Backs move *

Miss 12 (M1) double loop

By Dan Cottrell

Best from

  • The opposition half, but not too close to the try line because valuable ground could be lost if the move goes slightly wrong.

Why it works

  • The first "miss pass" pulls out the defenders.
  • The "loop" by 12 further pulls another defender to mark him as the extra man.
  • 10 creates an extra player, with 13 passing into the space between him and the looping 12.
  • In effect, this move creates two extra players for the defence to cover.

Good if you have

  • A quick 10.
  • Already taken the ball up with 13, especially from a "miss pass".
  • Already used a "loop pass" from 13 to 12.
  • Identified a weak defender in the 13 channel.

What players should do

  • 10 passes to 13 and then follows 12 behind 13 to take a "pop pass" on the outside of 13's shoulder.
  • 12 runs forwards briefly before "looping" behind 13, but running a wider "arc" to allow space for 10 to come in between 13's "outside shoulder" and 12's "inside shoulder".
  • 13 runs forward to receive the pass from 10, then delays a "loop pass" until 10 has run behind and around his "outside shoulder".

Common mistakes

  • 13 runs away with the pass making it difficult for 10 to make it around in time.
  • 13 runs too quickly towards the defence, again making the pass more difficult.
  • 13 passes without knowing 10 has made it around. There needs to be good communication to indicate 10's imminent arrival.

Think about

  • 13 running towards the opposition 12 initially, before straightening up.
  • 13 performing a "dummy wide pass" before passing to 10.
  • 13 going themselves if their defender moves on to 10, so needs to have some momentum when reaching the "tackle line".

Create flexible players

By Dan Cottrell
There are five core generic skills that all rugby players need to practise regularly.

1) Passing

Whatever position a player ends up playing, passing will be a core part of their role. There is no excuse for any player not being able to deliver a variety of passes effectively or selecting the best pass to use in different situations.

Players should all be competent at delivering clearing passes, spin passes, orthodox passes and pop passes, and in both directions.

In training, you must put players under pressure to deliver passes and condition games so players have to select different passes to suit different situations.

2) Running

Focus on the key running skills common to all players - acceleration, changing pace, changing direction and running efficiently sideways and backwards.

Incorporate multidirectional running into all your warm-ups and work on all the running skills every week. Impress on players the need to be balanced when they are running especially just before contact situations.

3) Support

All your players need to understand their supporting roles in the game. Always insist they come from a deep position behind the ball carrier and accelerate onto the pass.

They must communicate accurately with the ball carrier to tell him exactly where they are and when they want the pass.

4) Tackling

Players need to be able to efficiently execute a variety of tackles in different situations. Your team's target should be that all players are competent tackling in one-on-one situations.

Work on individual technique and include tackling exercises and games in every training session. Expose your players to different situations where they have to make different tackles.

5) Decision

Some players are natural decision makers but it is important that all your players learn how to make good decisions under pressure the majority of the time. Like most complex skills, decision making can only be developed by making real time decisions repeatedly.

This article is from Rugby Coach Weekly.

Feet and leg positioning *front row

By Dan Cottrell

Why do we want the feet and legs of a front row player in the best position for a scrum?
A good foot position means the shove from the legs is working in the right direction. A bad foot position can mean all the effort produced from a good body position is lost.

Good feet and legs

On engagement, the hips of both players are above the knees (pictured above). The thighs are perpendicular, the feet are pointing forward, and the players are on the balls of their feet.
Some coaching text books say that there is some evidence that an angle of 120 degrees for the leg bend is best for applying the most force at impact.
After the initial shove, the hips have moved forward, but there is still some flex in the legs (pictured above). Remember to keep stepping, so the knees come under the hips after the initial engagement.
Julian Davies, former London Welsh and Esher prop: "A lot of people think it's about size and position but it's all about the strength of your abdominal muscles - neck to waist. The further you can put your legs back, the stronger the push."
Nigel Horton, British Lions scrummaging coach: "The key to scrummaging is balance. It comes first from the feet and then the legs. You can be as strong as an ox, but if you are off balance, then the shove is dissipated."

Bad feet and legs

Check your players for signs of "bad" feet and legs.
A bad driving position (pictured above). The legs are virtually straight. The hips are higher than the shoulders. The feet are neutral - there is no flex for a shove. Also note that the binding of the right hand player shows him pulling the other down.
Still no flex in the legs and the feet are flat (pictured above).

Secrets of feet and body positions

"In general it is recognised that having the feet offset allows greater variation when it comes to creating options as it is difficult to react going backwards with your feet together. Coaching generally centres around being offset to absorb the impact and then taking small steps (in unison) to try and promote your scrum."
Martin Toomey, fitness adviser to the All Blacks 1997-1999, quoted on www.coachesinfo.com
"Spine in line saves 999."
Jim Love, NZ Sports Academy manager and former assistant coach of NZ Maori.

This article is from my Secrets of the Front Row manual.