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What is the best way to transfer tag rugby ability to contact rugby in 8-9 year olds? How can one best teach the basics of the breakdown?
To answer your first question - I would introduce 1 v 1 scrums at knock ons and then gradually build on that.
Do remember that before any contact the children should be able to get into the "scrum" position.
See the "Six stages" tab above for a step by step approach. Stage 6 is where you will find out about scrums and line outs.
I hope this helps you.
Ed Don't forget that you can extend Tag about as far as you like until the point it is nearly contact. Do this by changing the tag/breakdown rules through a tag session as you. You can start with a simple tap back or whatever you use. Then progress to a shoulder role (gains yards after contact, but you don't need to tell the kids yet) with a place. Perhaps then 1, then 2 blockers/ruckers to join the ball carrier. The options are near endless and it's still tag. Give a turn-over ball for non compliance. With escalating rules as you go and penalties for not doing it, you train their little minds to think about the game. You'll find this also gets them talking about the game as they go. Physical progression to contact is, as Simon says, elsewhere.
The RFU will shortly be releasing a DVD 'Tag to Tackle' which we have been involved with in a small way going from U8 to U9. The most interesting aspect of this was not to coach either the ruck or the maul but concentrate the players minds on off loading the ball using a number of techniques - e.g pop back, lay back, supporting player rips, or pop up off the deck. These can be started playing tag with points for the correct technique rather than for tries. Then you introduce the tackle. At a later stage you can bring in some rucking as a means of retaining or winning the ball if the off load hasn't been made. Having just completed our U9'S season we found it a method that worked and moved the ball around.
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