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Rugby Kicking Tips – Objectives of Kick StrategyBy
The aim of the following article is to provide you with a rugby kicking tip and outline the basic aims and objectives of kick strategy.
The kick strategy should result in only positive outcomes for the team. It should end any speculation of what the team is trying to achieve when boot hits ball. When reading the information provided you should be conscious of your own team strategy and the kicking skills of the players in your team.
Kick strategy starts with the following rules that the team understands and follows in unison. The kick (and chase) should always force a better field position through finding touch (40:20, Scrum), by playing territory, or by applying pressure through a good chase providing a contest for the ball (aerial or grubber challenge 1v1, 2v1 picking on the player you want to give a bad day at the office to etc).
The aim of kicks in the opposition 20 focuses on creating the opportunity to re-gather or score. Have the ball returned to your team from the opposition goal line for another set of six (drop out) and finally to maintain defensive pressure on the opposition close to their own goal line. Sounds simple doesn’t it!
When we use our kick strategy, it is dependant on game tactics and this in turn is dependant on the situation the players find themselves in. Examples of this include the tackle count 3rd, 4th, or 5th tackle; the state of the game; is the team leading by one or are you six behind; what is the field position? Are you out wide near the touchline; and finally what is your own team’s assessment of opportunity. All of these questions need to be addressed in the additional phases of player development.
Having outlined the basic kick strategy aims and objectives the only way to ensure success is in the preparation of both individual and team skills in kick strategy.
Kick Strategy – Kicks used bombs, grubbers and chip
I stated that in order to have a successful kick strategy the players and the team have to be in unison to achieve the team kick strategy. However, it all starts with the kicker being able to put the ball into the right area of the field (length, height, width, speed of ball), then and only then can the chases do their job.
In this article I outline some of the kicks used and what I believe are the critical success factors that are needed to achieve success for the Kick strategy in game situations.
The types of kicks that are used to gain an advantage include; bombs (end over end, spiral); grubbers (end over end, sliders); chip; the torpedo and goal kicking will be discussed in a later article.
Bombs (end over end, spiral)
The height, length and speed of the bomb will determine the extent of the challenge for the ball. A cursory look at the rules will identify that bombs must be challenged because if they land in the in goal and we fail to challenge, then the opposition have been given a 20 metre up-field restart and 6 tackles to play. “Bombs” that land in the field of play, near the try line, require the same urgency of challenge.
Positioning of the “Bomb”
Field position and pre-planning will determine the placement of the “bomb” i.e. where is the kick directed (goal posts/sideline). Certain teams are having great success with the cross-field bomb i.e. kicking to the wingers on the fringes of the field near the try-line (Why successful because they practice!). Bombs should be placed so that defenders need to turn and run backwards or run sideways so to be able to gather – preferably not forward!
The grubber kick is a short kick along the ground which is placed such that it rolls in behind the defensive line and the chasers have a better than average chance of retrieval. If the defence try to regain the ball then knock on may be possible if pressure is placed on them.
The chip kick is usually a short kick over the heads of the opposition and behind the defensive line so that it gives the chasers a better than average chance of fielding the ball either on the full or on the bounce, at speed. If re-gathered then it requires numbers for close support (off both shoulders). Best time in my opinion is on tackle 1 to 3 or when the defensive line is up or chargers (as discussed). It is a difficult skill to master if the defensive line is uneven, as it puts pressure on our field kickers to find the gap using peripheral vision.
These are the basic kick options that are being used. Kicking is a basic play where the final outcome is a product of the quality of the kick (and kicker) and the commitment of the chase.
In short whatever the tactic, any kick is only as good as the chase and challenge!
David Griffiths – Kicking Coach
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