Rugby Coaching Blog | Professional Rugby Advice & Coaching

Day thirteen of August pre season training tips: kicking by David Clarke

August 13


Surely there is no real time in pre season training to practise kicking. Well, let’s define what we mean by kicking first and then see how to fit it in.

Goal kicking: individual work on. You can spend time at the end of the session with ALL the potential goal kickers to see how they are progressing. If you can, have some form of kicking competition because goal kicking is as much about pressure as it is about technique.

Kick offs: it is a key set piece component, so you will have to practise this during training anyway. However, whilst you are setting up players for either kick receipts or kick offs, the kick off kickers can be practising their drop kicks.

Kicking for touch from penalties: when you split into backs and forwards for unit play, the one or two players who are likely to carrying out touch kicks from penalties can spend 5-10 minutes kicking to a target from a static position. Technique is vital, with the foot being rigid, the ball being dropped down the middle of the body and the leg following through to the target.

Kicking in open play: okay, there is little time in pre season for this unless you have weeks of preparation. Instead, encourage kicking in your touch games. And no doubt all your front row players will be practising their drop goals before training anyway.

Better Rugby Coaching

Coaching kicks the natural way by David Clarke
September 23, 2009, 12:31 pm
Filed under: Better Rugby Blog Guests, Dan Cottrell | Tags: , ,

A piece taken from the BBC Sport Website

Williams takes Bath kicking role

Bath have appointed Welshman Rowly Williams as their new kicking coach.

Williams was previously with Wasps and Harlequins. He has also worked in Rugby League with Wigan Warriors.

“I’ll be doing some individual profiling then finding out what their needs and concerns are,” Williams told BBC Radio Bristol.

Head coach Steve Meehan added: “Rowly’s a welcome addition. He has been involved with winning teams. I’m sure that will rub off in a positive way.”

It’s the guys out there doing it. It’s my role to create an environment that allows them to get the best out of themselves

Butch James, Nicky Little, Olly Barkley and Ryan Davis will all benefit from Williams’ knowledge and experience.

Williams intends to develop and improve the individual styles: “I am not some one who believes ‘one size fits all.’

“There is too much going on in the individual dynamic of each player to force him to kick in a particular way.

“I just get them to concentrate on their process so they kick correctly. I will work around the player.

“The credit will always be the players. It’s important to recognise it’s the guys out there doing it.

“It’s my role to create an environment that allows them to get the best out of themselves.”

Better Rugby Coaching

Will this be the way the Lions win in 2009? by David Clarke

Here are some of the key points drawn from the statistical analysis of the 2009 Six Nations tournament. It will be interesting to see if the Lions follow the success of the Irish team and adopt their tactics.

The full text is available at this link.

From the report by Corris Thomas, IRB:

This year, IRELAND won the Grand Slam for the first time in over 60 years and they achieved it by bringing a distinctive approach to this year’s championship.

Gone was the high passing team, low kicking team that characterised Ireland’s play in recent years and in came a far more controlled pattern of play that exerted constant pressure on the opposition. The following extracts from the following report illustrates the extent of this approach:

¨ Far from being the highest passing team as in the recent past, Ireland were the lowest both in number of passes and rate of passing
¨ In one match they made just 82 passes
¨ Very few Irish passing movements contained more than 3 passes. Only 1 passing movement in every 38 contained 3 or more passes, this compared to 1 in 15 for the other 5 teams.

The Irish effort was far more concentrated on tight play as the following illustrations show:

¨ They were among the highest rucking team and kicking team with the most successful ruck retention rate
¨ They were turned over only 7 times in almost 500 rucks and mauls, a ratio far better than any other team
¨ In a tournament of few mauls, Ireland mauled far more than any other team
¨ Of 7 maul turnovers, 6 were achieved by Ireland
¨ They conceded only 3 tries none of which started inside their own half
¨ Their forwards were the least likely to pass the ball – and often significantly less likely. Their back row, for example, passed the ball on only 13% of occasions while the back rows of the other 5 teams passed on no less than 35% of occasions.
¨ They kicked almost all restarts short thereby maintaining constant physical pressure on their opponents
¨ They were the most successful team in gaining possession on opposition lineouts and 75% of their tries came from lineout possession

This approach was complemented by other major factors
¨ 11 of their 12 tries were converted, making tries worth an invaluable 7 points
¨ They were the least penalised team
¨ They obtained more possession than their opponents in 4 of their 5 matches.

Better Rugby Coaching

Learning from other sports (5) by David Clarke

American Football and Aussie Rules

Amercian Football

I have put two “national” sports together because they are not widely played elsewhere in the world. I know there is an American Football League in Europe and there are pick up games of Aussie Rules played in places like London, but the reality is that these sports are very closely associated from their countries of origin.

Each game has a strong cultural bias and most of the key thinking comes only from those countries. In that sense they lack a global perspective. It does not mean that rugby cannot learn much from their coaching processes and techniques.

Enough of why I put them together, what can we learn from them.

Aussie Rules

Aussie Rules

Kicking. The game’s main means of transferring the ball and the only way to score points is through the use of the “drop punt”. This kick is dropped onto the striking foot so the end is kicked and there is no spiral. The result is a straighter kick than a spiral kick and an easy ball to catch. Remember these players are aiming for their team mates to catch the ball.

Catching. I think that Rugby Union is beginning to employ the hands above style of catch used in Aussie Rules more and more. For kick off receipts, it is the method most commonly used by second rows. For cross kicks, it helps the jumper reach the ball before his opponent. The height of the jump and style of jumping is a key element in this.

American Football

Tackling. Despite the “padding”, tackling in American Football still needs to be as technically efficient as a rugby tackle. Though the ball carrier rarely offloads the ball, the tackle has to bring the player to the ground. It is well worth looking at the footwork required and head position. For some further thoughts see Philip Copeman’s Iron rugby site.

Footwork. Avoiding contact and making effective contact needs footwork which was way ahead of the game of rugby for many years. We are catching up, but could still learn more. Better body shapes for contact come from a strong base.

Kicking. The punting style in American Football was adopted by Dave Alred who then coached Jonny Wilkinson, plus other top kickers.

From small pitch to large pitch by David Clarke
January 20, 2009, 11:12 am
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby Skills, Rugby Training | Tags: , ,

 Kids rugby

I have just read some interesting concerns on the Better Rugby Coaching forum about the way to help players make the transition from a small pitch to a large rugby pitch. Coaches are rightly worried about their players’ rugby fitness, the change in rugby tactics and what happens when the players can kick from anywhere.

In short, the players will find a larger pitch a fitness challenge and the kicking changes the shape of the game, but mastery of the basics remains the core element.

Reducing the number of charge downs by David Clarke

Danny Cipriani continues to make the headlines. Now kicking coaches have questioning his style of kicking because it has led to too many charge downs.

Our article back in November highlighted the key points he should consider:

1. Half a stride steps to kick rather than normal steps.

2. Kick at an angle and not straight downfield.

3. Drop the ball from a lower height.

4. Run sideways to step into the kick and not run upfield.

He, plus his colleagues at Wasps, are doing extra work on it this week.

Here is what the papers said:

Cipriani’s punt leaves Edwards in a spiral
Independent, UK – 8 hours ago
By David Llewellyn Danny Cipriani may be closer to agreeing a deal to stay on at Wasps, but if he continues to present opponents with soft tries by having
Danny Cipriani can learn from NFL in bid to kick costly habit
Times Online, UK – 10 hours ago
American football Danny Cipriani’s propensity for being charged down, giving tries to opponents, could be rectified by learning from American football.
Cipriani’s kicking crisis, United Kingdom – 11 hours ago
Wasps coaches set up special training to work on fly-half’s ‘nightmare’ over charge- downs. By Mick Cleary Danny Cipriani is to undergo a special training
Cipriani kicking problem targeted
BBC Sport, UK – 13 hours ago
England kicking coach Jon Callard says he can help Danny Cipriani eradicate the charge-downs which are increasingly blighting the fly-half’s game.
Cipriani’s kicking called into question by worried Wasps coach Edwards, UK – 15 hours ago
Cipriani attempts a kick under pressure from Gonzalo Tiesi of Harlequins at the weekend. Photograph: Warren Little/Getty Images Further pressure was heaped