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Archive for February, 2012

This week we will be looking at simple ways we can create space where it doesn’t exist and to preserve space for team mates when making such moves.  This will mostly involve the classic loop, switch, and miss pass (back inside / loop) moves, which I feel are under used or too often planned too far ahead of time, resulting in something that’s predictable or that misses the true opportunity.  We’ll build upon last week’s angle running session by reminding the group that communication – and timely communication at that! – is vital.  We’ll start with closed technique development to ensure players have their angles and timing right, but then give them the freedom to practice the variety of skills developed in a more dynamic environment.  Ideally, we’d finish with a game, but given the numbers we had last week, and the restriction of a basketball court, I hope this skill scenario – with a feedback structure – will suffice.

Sunday Session #2

Space – Running Lines (re-v), Two-(Wo)Man Moves

TIME OBJECTIVE / ELEMENTS ACTIVITIES
 0-10 Mins     Partner / Tri / Square Passing

  • Grip
  • ‘Snap’ out
  • Follow through to target
  • ‘Spiderman’ or ‘Turn the knob’

10 push, 10 spin (perfect)

 

10-15 mins Passing in Lines

  • Quality!
  • Transfer in one step
  • Targets up, Follow through to target
Passing in Lines … 3s or 4s

  • Start from the ground, SH follows

Dynamic Recovery (half and jog back)

  • Straight Leg Walk (on toes opp.)
  • High Knee Pull (on toes opp.)
  • Fence Climbers
  • Lunge Walk w. twist
  • Pick Grass
  • Inch Worm

 

  Quick Introduction…Session Objectives

 

Creation and Preservation of Space…Angles Revisited

Two-Man Moves

Supporting Moves

(excuse self to get water)

 

15-25 mins Angles RevisitedUnders and Overs

  • Fix defenders
  • Sudden, angular movement into space
  • Communicate intent: “Unders / overs – NOW!”
  • Unders = late run, flat short pass; wider space between passer and strike runner
  • Overs = early run, slightly deeper, leading wide pass; wider channel between receiver and 2nd receiver
Three Stations (5 mins each) 
25-30 mins  Fitness Blast 1(45 sec, 30 sec) Station 1: Fast FeetStation 2: Butt Kicks

Station 3: Knee Thrust Skips
Station 4: Backwards Running / Backpedal

 

30-50 mins  2-(Wo)Man Moves

  • To create space or create opportunities
  • Sudden and deliberate, communicated intent
  • Straighten and keep move alive (two hands on ball)
  • Quality of pass and timing of both pass and run!!!
Loop

  • Tight and Straighten
  • Early / delayed

Switch

  • Occupy other lane
  • Pop pass behind back

Miss

  • Middle hangs back or loops

 

50-55 mins Fitness Blast 2(30 sec, 30 sec) Station 1: Tuck JumpsStation 2: Mountain Climbers

Station 3: Burpees

Station 4: Body Squats

 

65-70 mins Break and De-Brief  
60-80 mins Dynamic Attack

  • Depth at which run is started and pass is made (TIMING!)
  • Width in which to strike
  • Calls: Hands, Hold and Go, Unders, Overs, Decoy, Loop, Miss, Switch

 

3 v 2 (w. bags) 
80-90 mins  X-FACTOR 
  • You and your unit of 5 get two chances to break through a three-man defensive wall
  • Defenders may be programmed to ensure players are scanning and acting on the fly, not pre-planning
  • A panel will analyse and provide feedback to each unit
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I’ve started indoor sessions with a local club and will be posting the details of those sessions so the players present (or not) can make greater sense of what we did.  As much as possible, I will try to add some supportive video content and will reflect upon where I’d tweak the session if I ran it again.

Main Outcomes
  • Develop fast-feet, evasive / reactive footwork
  • Understand purpose and key elements of unders / overs running lines (referred to as ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ cuts)
  • Practice timing, angles of runs, accuracy of passing in a dynamic environment
TIME OBJECTIVE / ELEMENTS ACTIVITIES
0-10 Mins Quick Introduction…Session Objectives

  • Perfect personal skills to make attack more efficient
    • Basic Pass
    • In front
    • Shoulder height
    • No arc / fast
    • Target up / follow through to target
  • Agility to Beat a Defender / Create Space
  • Basic Running Lines (and communication)
    • Unders
    • Overs
    • (Combos?)
Partner / Tri / Square Passing

  • Grip
  • ‘Snap’ out
  • Follow through to target
  • ‘Spiderman’ or ‘Turn the knob’

10 push, 10 spin (perfect)

(*if time, deck and pass from ground)

10-15 mins Passing in Lines

  • Quality!
  • Transfer in one step
  • Targets up, Follow through to target
Passing in Lines … 3s or 4s

  • Start from the ground, SH follows

Dynamic Recovery (half and jog back)

  • Straight Leg Walk (on toes opp.)
  • High Knee Pull (on toes opp.)
  • Fence Climbers
  • Lunge Walk w. twist
  • Pick Grass
  • Inch Worm
15-30 mins Agility

  • ‘Dynamic’ body position
  • On toes
  • Sudden movements
 Circuit:

1. Up and Backpedal, 2. Side stepping, 3. Swerves

30-45 mins Unders and Overs

  • Fix defenders
  • Sudden, angular movement into space
  • Communicate intent: “Unders / overs – NOW!”
  • Unders = late run, flat short pass; wider space between passer and strike runner
  • Overs = early run, slightly deeper, leading wide pass; wider channel between receiver and 2nd receiver
Unders and Overs Stations 

2 v 2 (dummy defenders), started with a SH pass

Advanced:  working on S-lines

45-50 mins Fitness Blast Station 1: Tuck JumpsStation 2: Mountain ClimbersStation 3: BurpeesStation 4: Body Squats
50-65 mins Dynamic Running Lines

  • Depth at which run is started and pass is made (TIMING!)
  • Width in which to strike
  • Calls: Hands, Hold and Go, Unders, Overs, Decoy
3 v 2 (w. bags), allow attackers to get set before SH passes so they can take time to manipulate defenders’ alignment and make the desired unders / overs cut.
65-70 mins Break and De-Brief (Touch introduction)
70-90 mins Touch

  • Hands at the ready
  • Quality passing
  • On toes, ready to change direction
  • Sudden movements
  • Two-handed touch; attacker places ball between legs, defender can ‘mark’ but rest must retreat 5m
  • Ball must be rolled back where touch was made
  • 5th touch = turnover
  • Balls dropped backwards = play on
  • Offloads made within 1 sec. of touch do not count against limited touches; offloads thrown away aimlessly = automatic turnover
  • Restarts and Penalties = 10m retreat and tap kick

Reflection:

Way more people than expected showed up – which was great! – but I felt there was too much standing around at the start.  The agility circuit should have instead been stations so that people were constantly moving instead of waiting in line.  I adjusted this for the next two drills so that there was an advanced group and two novice groups working at their own pace.  I had three team leaders graciously offer to monitor each drill while I floated around and dropped ‘teachable moment’ lessons, and offered quite a lot of feedback to units after they completed.  I don’t think I talked to the group as much as I used to, which is a goal of mine, preferring to allow them greater time participating and opting instead to continually yell the ‘key elements’ as described in the outline above.  With the greater numbers, and wanting to ensure everyone had a solid run-through for each skill component, we didn’t have time for touch … though I doubt it’d work with 40 people in a b-ball gym, even if teams rotated off.  Faced with that again, I think I’ll try and just keep the final skill scenario as dynamic and game-like as possible.

Unders and Overs Lines in a Game

Luke McAllister (NZ 12) runs an unders line off Dan Carter (NZ 10), and Jerry Collins runs an overs line off Luke McAllister.

Beating a Man 1 on 1 with Jeff Wilson, legendary All Black

Deadly Sidesteps of Danie Gerber

John Bentley’s Triple Swerve (first is text-book)

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I was reading an article today by Aussie, but wannabe-Irish (by the way he says ‘we’ when talking about them on tv), coach Matt Willaims about Ireland’s defensive woes.  Simply put, he was criticising coach Declan Kidney’s use of the sliding defence, whereby players come forward and then move across the field with the ball, suggesting that they should employ more of a rush defence, like the Welsh do, coming forward quickly to stop the ball reaching the outside channel.  Both cited the amount of tries Ireland have ceded out wide, being more so there than any other area.  I read a comment on the article that suggested it wasn’t the defensive system, but the players involved – a subtle criticism, I think, against inside centre Gordon D’Arcy, who many feel is past it. This last bit, for starters, highlights something that’s truer for us who coach amateur club / school teams – you can only work with what you have.  While D’Arcy might be in the twilight of his career, I can’t think that Ireland have any better inside centres available.

I’m not one who prefers one defensive system over another, and though I’ve not yet employed it as a club or school coach, I eventually see myself training my players to maybe use two or three for specific situations (I’ll write about that later, but to suggest my stance on it – we have different sets and countless ‘plays’ in attack, so three different ways of defending shouldn’t be too much of a stretch with training and communication systems in place).  I’ve been watching a lot of France’s play of late, who were to be Ireland’s opponent yesterday until the match was called due to a frozen pitch.  I seemed to recall that Ireland, with their talismanic centre Brian O’Driscoll, gave up a try to them last year that was similar to the one that prompted the criticism – last week’s inability to stop Wales in the wide channel.

Let’s dig up those clips …

It’s not the system that’s at fault here, and Ireland are definitely not using a sliding defence when North hits the line and offloads to Davies to score Wales’ second.  Just as in the first try to Davies, Ireland were caught flat footed.  If you play the clip up to about 1:12-1:14, you can see Ireland rush up and then slow down and almost stop dead, flat footed as George North hits the line.  This is a basic no-no of tackling at ANY level.  The moment you go flat footed, you lose your momentum, your power, and your ability to adjust to what the ball carrier does – you give the advantage of the tackle contest completely to the attacker.  The point failing here was not the system, but the level of commitment, and possibly communication.  There are three players within a 5m defensive zone – easily enough space for anyone at that level to cover themselves – yet it’s not quite clear who’s responsible for North (Wales’ 11).  The

If you look at last year’s game, you can see that with a bit better communication, patience and commitment, the French might have been stopped.  Just like last weekend, they rushed up (not too quickly, which I don’t think is as much of a sin as some would say – again, for a later article) and slowed down – note how both centres adopt a squatting position at about 0:05-0:08.  Definitely not a dynamic position that allows one to take away space and adjust to directional changes of the attacking players!

And, again, I don’t think it’s the defensive system that’s at fault here, but the lack of commitment and communication of commitment within the one that’s chosen.  At 0:25, there’s the start of what looks to be an effective sliding defence, but at 0:28, there’s obvious confusion as a French player alters his running line.  This freezes 10, though 7 definitely had him covered, and even sucked in 12’s attention.  O’Driscoll even, was too focused inward, allowing Rougerie to get outside him (note how he’s turned sideways at 0:30).  When you’ve got your defender turned facing the touchline, you’ve got him/her at your mercy!  If you’re speedy, you can beat him around the corner and face him into a side/rear tackle and have to chase down your speed (and avoid the fend!).  If the defender is over-committed to that chase, then a little step inside will see you slip right by – which is what Rougerie does here.  The much-maligned D’Arcy does in a couple of steps, bring down the big Frenchman, but what’s lacking – especially given that Ireland supposedly employ a sliding defence – is a more-determined commitment to covering across to pick up the counter-runner (in this case, Cedric Heymans).  Being beat by a cut-back is an inherent risk of a sliding defence (as is being beat around the corner or behind with a kick for fans of the rush defence), so the Irish players should know that once the ball has got wide, they must push across with great commitment.  In fact, that’s probably the most aggressive part of a sliding defence prior to the actual tackle – the slide itself is meant to usher attackers sideways and eliminate their space, but the push across to cover the switch-back has to be more aggressive as it’s the slide’s weak point.  It’s an effective defence when all are committed to covering those weak points, and communication is vital when determining who’s responsible for whom … even saying it for your own sake should be a mental kick up the back side to get there and do what’s needed of you.

 

 

 

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I recently discovered that the French Rugby Union has it’s own video sharing account at Dailymotion.  In addition to interviews and clips from big matches, they’ve got some great drill videos that I’ve only just started going through.  Have a look at this clip on the tackle contest, and note that there are plenty more down the right hand side (… and they’re even MORE useful if your French is better than mine!)

FFR – Le Ruck

FFR – La Melee (Scrum) … and another: Here

FFR- Le Lift

FFR – Kicking

Hand Fighting (for fending / tackling)

 

 

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