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Introduce the need of depth

I'm a Portuguese Under 14 rugby coach. I have some difficulty on finding a way to coach depth of support players. Is there a simplified game I can use in a session to introduce the need of depth, so they can understand by playing, instead of me just telling the players what to do? Help me if you can, please.

Getting younger players to run from depth can be difficult as they are so enthusiastic to get to the ball. Try the attached exercise where you get players to run around a cone and so you make them come from depth. You will need to explain why this is important! I hope this helps you. Simon

Defender - Round and Realign

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Tell your players the following......

  1. There will be one ball to each group, any player can be the ball carrier.
  2. Each group will have one defender, the defenfer will not have to go around the cone.
  3. On GO, the group moves towards the closest cone.At the cone, the players spread out and attack the line at pace and with width.
  4. They should realign following the attack left, to attack again right.
  5. When the second groups sees the first group complete their first set of passes, they should begin without waiting.
  6. The defender should swap with another player in their group.


  1. Make the training area small to force quick hands.
  2. Make the training area wider to increase the length of the pass.
  3. Allow players to be creative in attack.

Coaching Points:

Don't feel that you have to focus on all of the following coaching points, you may have your own. Select the points that most closely match your overall training and session goals.

  • Players should work to keep the tempo of the session high.
  • Receivers hands should be out, presenting a target.
  • Ball carriers carry the ball in two hands.
  • The pass is weighted in terms of distance, speed, and accuracy.
  • The pass is only complete when caught.
  • Players do not spin the ball over short distances and their pass should be sympathetic to the receiver.
  • Ball carriers pass to where the receiver is going to be, not where they are.
  • Ball carriers provide a flat ball or a ball that the receiver can run onto.
  • The receiver attacks at pace, receiving the ball while moving forward at pace.
  • Players demonstrate good communication . Communication should be efficient, effective, and encouraging. Receivers should identify themselves, their location etc. Ball carriers should verbally seek out support.
  • Mistakes will be made, allow your players the freedom to make mistakes without feeling a failure.
  • Passing should be off both hands. There is no weak or strong hand, just hands that need a little more work. Work is the key, not talent.
  • Attackers spread to attack with width.
  • Passers realign to provide further attacking options.
  • Players are creative in attack e.g. looping, miss passes etc.
  • Defenders track, and close down space quickly.
  • Players react to what they see, the location of the defender.

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  • search our library of 1100+ rugby drills
  • create your own professional coaching plans
  • or access our tried and tested plans