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Rugby Kicking Game – Kicking Question Answered


rugby-kicking-gameQuite a few questions are coming in regarding the rugby kicking game and as this is a very important part of coaching a rugby team, I thought I’d share one of them with you.

Obviously being an ex front row forward, kicking is not one of my specialities which is why I put the question to Griff (David Griffiths). Griff is one of the leading rugby kicking coaches in both union and league and has coached elite players in Australia, Europe and the UK.

The question is;

“Re kicking questions – in this clip – http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=lPPDify1SuI – we see the ABs doing some kicking and, amongst other things looking to get the grubber kick to curl through the goal posts from side on. How exactly is this achieved?

Also, I have read that it is possible to get the ball to kick one way or the other on landing. Is this true and, if so, how is it done?”

These kicks are like party pieces and very rarely get used in a game situation under ‘pressure’ also what would it achieve in relation to team play in either Union or League (Possession, Teritary etc).

The drills enable the kicker to get the feel of the ball and to understand the principles involved with; Contact, Flight and Roll (Kick to Land). Greater success is gained when the flight of the ball is kept low, with contact early on in the flight with the floor, as in the opening seconds of the video clip.

However, in a game it would not clear the oncoming defence, it would in union put the ball behind the opposition scrum or line (making it difficult for your team defence/numbers to lock in) and/or it would feed the sweeping 9, 15, 11 and or 14 dependent on swerve. Due to the starting height of the kick, It could also land in the bread basket and offer the oppostion the chance to score. No Free goes……

In relation to how it works it is similar to a bike or car wheel when rolled. As it looses momentum it rolls on the edge to the left or right, (ala tracking on a car). In the clip you see the starting position of the ball as explained by the coach. Later in the clip you see a forward just give it a smash, with no ball placement guidance (that one lands in the stand!).

By simply switching (rotating) the starting point of the ball you promote the opportunity for the ball to go in the other direction. This is the same as when putting up the bombs, you can promote the opportunity that if not caught, then the ball can roll on, swing left or right. Whatever kick selection you choose (punt, chip, torpedo etc); external factors can and do play a role in the success of your kicks.

However, the more you practice….. the luckier you become:)

In relation to rugby kicking and coaching juniors, get them to understand about the flight of the ball, and hence the importance to never let the high ball bounce.

Work on straight line kicks as this will lead to a more accurate punt, chip and grubber execution before moving onto the tricks. As ever my suggestion is learn the trade and not the tricks of the trade.



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