Dammy half pass

The ‘Ruck’ is the centre of the universe!

Well it is probably the most important area of the Rugby Pitch that is for sure! Everything starts around the ruck, floor work and marker work followed by ruck plays and dummy half passing. If your hooker gets this pass wrong then inverably you turn the ball over and end up defending another set.

The following drills give you a lot of variation on passing off the floor to targets at different distances.



The first part of the technique teaches the players how to pass the ball quickly and accuratley straight off the floor.

The first thing to teach your players is how to pick or scoop the ball up in the correct position for a quick pass. The player should always take their lead hand over the top of the ball and drag it back towards them and into the other hand (A slip doing it the other way could result in a knock on) as this minimises the chance of a knock on.

Next you want your players to put the lead foot at the side of the ball with their back foot behind it pointing in the direction of the man to which they are passing and finally sit to pick up the ball rather than bending at the waist.

The players perform a 6 o’clock pass off the floor to the receiver before advancing through the drill where each pass becomes longer.

You are looking as a coach for good flight of the ball (As little tumbling as possible), correctly weighted passes and them hitting the targets.

Advance One

You can change the drill so that the pass is a spin pass for each one or short passes for the first couple and then spin passes for the others so that the players work on choosing the correct type of pass at the correct time.

Advance Two

Double up the number of balls so the the player is passing to both sides using the same technique.

Advance Three

Place the balls at different distances so that the first pass is 8 meters and the 2nd 3 with the 3d 6 meters etc and challenge the players to use the correct passing techniqe dependent on the distance of the pass and also weight the pass correctly.

Another Drill

This drill practices the same techniques as above but adds pace into the equation and forces the player to look up and see where they are passing and weight accordingly.

For this drill you need 3 players, a tackle sheild and 10 balls


Set out the drill the same as the image below, The player runs around the tackle bag at pace and passes to receivers who are static. To advance the drill, have the receivers change their distance from the ball for each pass so that the passer has to look up and weight the pass correctly.



playing into space small sided game for rugby league

Playing into Space – SSG

How to play the game:

Blues are attacking players, Orange are defending players, Red are coach positions and light blue are cones that show the retreating player where to go back too.

The players in defense are numbered according to the side the coach is feeding the ball in from so closest is one to five furthest away.

Picture of kids having fun Playing Rugby

Does winning Matter?

“If winning isn’t important, why then do we keep score”

When I started coaching I was 25 and started with a team at under 10s, everything that I did was about winning the game the following week. If that meant changing positions to put my biggest lad against the oppositions smallest then I would or if we could just barge through them up the middle then that became the game plan but the outlook was very short term, sure at under 10s and 11s we where winning games but does that really matter?

Playing into gaps drill, advancement and small sided game

Do your players struggle to recognise gaps?

Are they struggling with handling to get the ball to a gap?

Struggling to get them to run good lines into space?

Want to work on push once an attacker has broken the line?

This drill which you can advance to include a full back for push through the line and finally into a small sided game will give you a way to work on those specific items plus more and it also allows you to challenge even more advanced players.

This one is a PDF that you can download, print out and take to the session with you including all the key coaching points etc.

Please let me know if it works for you and if you advance it even further or have similar drills that you use then we can include them on any update.

Finding the space session plan can be downloaded by clicking the link.

Criss Cross Offloads


This is a neat drill that keeps everyone constantly working and see's the players learning how to go into contact in a way that allows them to spin off the defender, keeping the ball carrying arm away and then works on the ability to offload to a man following up in support.

This drill requires Marker Cones, 2 Tackle Shields and a ball.


2 Players need to hold tackle shields with a line opposite each at right angles as per the animation. 1st player runs and hits the shield, turns and offloads to a player in support from the other line and the drill continues.

Make sure the players swap lines so that they can practice offloading both left and right.

One Defender, 2 Defender defence drill


This defensive drill works on a number of  the core defensive skills as well as getting your defenders working together as  part of a defensive unit. This drill will also work on player fitness when done  continually for a set number of minutes. Communication in this one is a must to get the line pushing together.


This is a drill that can de carried out in  a really confined space with anything from 4 to 8 or 10 defenders depending on  the number of tackle shields you have available.

Support Line Drill


This defensive drill works on a number of the core defensive skills as well as getting your defenders working together as part of a defensive unit. This drill will also work on player fitness when done continually for a set number of minutes.


This is a drill that can de carried out in a really confined space with anything from 4 to 8 or 10 defenders depending on the number of tackle shields you have available.

Set your attacking line up with the number of tackle shields you have available and your first defender 10 meters away from the first attacker with the rest of your defenders in a line behind them.

1st man moves in and makes the tackle, using the correct technique but doesn't drive the player or take him to the ground and then slides across to attacker 2 as he retreats the ten. Your first player should then communicate with the next man and they go in and complete the tackle together.

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Get your players to signal at the attacker they are defending against.

Make sure the line looks to make sure everyone is set, that they communicate and move in together maintaining the line.

1st impact in the tackle should be the shoulder, grip around the back with the arm connected to that shoulder and then leaver the opposite leg.


Allow the attacking line to move in making the drill a full contact one.

Remove the tackle shields so that the players get used to the contact.

Complete the drill by having the defenders lift the leg, drive and then ground the attacker. When doing this one complete the drill by working the floor and offloading to the marker position.

Remove tackle shields and make it full contact. [/private]

Straights and Diagonals


This is a basic Rugby League handling drill which allows the coach to look at things like passing, catching, communication, running and passing in front of the man.



Set out an oblong around 15 by 25 feet with a cone on each corner and then split your players equally in lines behind the cones.

Player one sets off along the longest side of the oblong, passing right to player two who then runs diagonally across the oblong before passing to three who goes along the opposite length, passing to 4 who again crosses diagonally.

Complete a set number of rotations to complete the drill.

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Watch for the runner carrying the ball corectly, looking up with the ball below the chin and elbows out.

The pass should be infront of the receiver as they are moving forward at pace. If the pass is direct to the receiver then they may miss it due to running past the position of the pass.

Are all players communicating, calling each others names whether ball carrier or receiver.


Add a second ball in where player 1 started from when player 3 leaves.

Preassurise the drill by adding a set of press ups or sit ups dependent on a number off balls being dropped.

Check that the reciever communicates with the ball carrier


Tight 6 Ruck defense system


The tight 6 ruck defence is one way of structuring your team to defend around the ruck. It relies on communication and speed from the 2 defenders either side of the ruck. This defensive system is described in the 'Laying the Foundations' E book available for download from the site. Click Ebooks on the menu for more information. [private]

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You require a play the ball situation with a runner either side, 2 markers and then some defenders who start outside of the grid.

To start the drill, the 1st marker puts the ball carrier on the floor and waits for a held call. At that point the defenders must get around the cones and set themselves together with the markers.

The ball carrier gets up and play the ball and the AHB hits one of the runners, the first marker moves across towards the man receiving the pass and the second marker steps up inline with him. As the ball is played the 4 defenders move up to create a wall with the 2 markers.


Plenty for you to look for with this one, communication is key.

Correct play the ball

Markers working correctly

Make sure the defenders do not cross each other. [/private]

Dummy Runner or Option Runner

When I started coaching I got into the habit of asking players to be a 'Dummy Runner' in certain situations and very quickly they became used to being that 'Dummy Runner' which created problems further down the line. As the team progressed we then started getting the half backs taking on the line and picking the correct option which then caused a problem with our Dummy Runners.

What had happened is that the players had got used to running the lines but didn't expect the ball but the halves where giving them the ball because they where actually the correct option as they had a gap in front of them. Arguments ensued and the whole issue had to be addressed and thats when I realised a mistake had been made that slowed down our progress.