To keep players focused on scoring by developing the instinct to move forward when carrying the ball.
What to Coach
When facing defenders it can sometimes be unnatural for players to keep moving forward instead of passing or moving backwards to find space. Players should be taught that moving forward when carrying the ball is essential to scoring points and keeping the flow of the game.
Step 1: Have players get into pairs of two, with one player holding a rugby ball.
Step 2: Have one player on defense challenge the player with the ball, but make it a rule that the ball carrier can only go forward even if they think they will get their flag pulled. Make it a contest to see how far each player can go without getting their flag pulled.
Step 3: Let each player take a few turns until they are naturally moving forward through every play.
Step 4: Ensure that players are safe by emphasizing that Rookie Rugby is non-contact.
Step 5: Practice one on one evasion drills that will encourage players to move forward instead of running away from the defense. If needed, restrict playing space by forming a narrow grid and forcing players to stay within the boundaries.
- Play a progressive flag rugby game starting with 4 v 1 then moving into 4 v 2 and 4 v 3. Players will feel more comfortable moving forward when there are less defenders.
- Have players play a 3 v 3 or 4 v 4 flag rugby game and make the rule that ball carriers are not allowed to move backwards.
- If a player steps or runs backwards, make sure to correct them right away.
- Make sure players are holding the ball correctly as they run.
- Encourage players to move froward by using simple commands during play. “Run Forward!” is commonly used in youth rugby.