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my youth teams are seriously creative in attack but they lack ability to penetrate. how do i help them?

I coach both males and females. In training they seem to get it however in games they tend to pass the ball from side to side but they seldom go forward. They play pretty rugby with switches, loops and miss ones.

Hi John. Do they lack confidence taking contact?


Here is a simple drill (see answer posted below!) that may help you get your players to penetrate. I agree with Dennis that confidence may be part of the problem and so if you use this practise and others like it and encourage breaking the defensive line it may help in games.

I would also encourgae playing small sided gmes in training so players get used to game situations as much as possible!

I hope this helps you


See practice here:

Join the attack: 2v1 - 3v2 - 5v4

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  • With a group of nine, tell two of them they are attackers - for now. The rest will be in defence.
  • Allocate your defenders within the grid, one defender at defenders cone 1, two defenders at defenders cone 2, and three defenders at defenders cone 3. Tell the defenders that they can move side to side, but not forward and back.
  • Also - tell the players on defenders cones 1 and 2, that they will join the attack when they have finished their defensive duties. So after the first 2 v 1, the 1 defender joins the attack to make the next attack 3 v 2, when this attack is over - the two defenders join the attack to make the last attack 5 v 4.
  • Have your demonstration group quickly complete a walk through, then a run through. Now get the other groups working.
  • Don't forget to give the last four defenders a chance in attack.

Coaching Points:

You may choose to focus on one or more of the following coaching points, or you might have some of your own!

  • Ball carrier carries the ball in both hands.
  • Support runners hold their depth coming onto the ball at pace.
  • Ball carriers change their foot speed and direction of running to draw defenders away from where their pass is going.
  • Support runner's work to draw defenders away from their running line. Communication between ball carrier and support runners is efficient, effective, encouraging, and timely.
  • Defenders work together to track and put attackers under pressure.
  • Attackers are creative in attack - employing switches, skip passes etc.
  • Passes are weighted correctly in terms of speed, distance and direction.
  • Ball receiver's hands are out.
  • Passes are where to receivers will be as opposed to where they are now.
  • Attackers may employ overs and unders to move defenders away from they wish to attack.
  • Encourage your players, the next pass is the most important!

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