Rugby: Building the Contact

Your tips and session ideas have really brought some interest back...
Eifion, Rugby Coach

DESCRIPTION

Setup:

Set up with 4 players with pads, and four players facing them about five metres away. There should be enough space between the players to ensure that they and the players making the hit are safe.

The rest of the players fall in behind the leading 4 players who will be making the first hit. Each group of four will go together.

The players holding the pads should do so with one hand on each strap, not with one arm through both straps as this exposes them to a lower arm fracture on a big hit.

Have more than one group if necessary, as you don't want to have players waiting for more than 20-30 seconds between hits.

Start slowly to get the technique right, and build from there. Tell the hitting players to put their hands behind their backs and make a hit on the pad using their shoulder. Remind them to keep their head up and to place their head to the side of the pads. Demo this with another coach if necessary.

COACHING POINTS

Players heads should be up, watching what they are doing at all times. Pad holders might be asked to remind each player to keep their head up.

You might encourage players to look through the contact and to keep their heads up by holding up a different colour cone just before each contact is made, the player making the hit shouts out the colour just before the contact. You should be behind the pads with cones, but a coach should be helping the players at all times

The spine should be parallel with the touch line and fully facing the opposition try line. Chat with the players regarding lost energy if they make a tackle that does not hit straight and through the target.

Get the leading leg close to the pad holder. Hit low, driving up through the hit. Dip the shoulder, if possible, just before the hit, and drive through.

Get close to the side of the pad holder, do not make contact with the head, but use as much of the shoulder as possible in contact. Eyes must be scanning the target, the head must be up, the player needs to make decisions based on what they see.

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