Ground Ball Retrieval – SSG

ground ball retreival rugby league small sided game

Ground Ball Retrieval – SSG

So you start coaching and go on an RFL coaching course and they teach you the basics of passing, tackling and even some kicking but they are all taught as static and drill based, someone kicks a ball and someone else catches it and kicks it back or someone kicks it and someone else chases it but how does that relate to the game in the real world, how does a player learn about decision making, when to drop on the ball and when to pick it up on the run, when they have time or they have to attack the ball?

The simple answer is it doesn’t, you will find the same with most of the stuff on level one and two courses!

How then do we teach our players to pick a ball up under preassure, to challenge them to make decisions, to make mistakes and to learn from them?

The game is really simple but effective, I have seen great results for my team in games through the use of this small sided game in training.


  • Set the pitch out as per the image to the Left. You don’t want the pitch too wide as to enable players to find easy gaps and score but give them some room to play.
  • The Blue Lines denote each teams “Kicking Line”, once they get to or pass this line the aim is too put a grubber kick through and chase with the aim to score or force a drop out with a good chase
  • The defenders have to defend the kick and then return up the pitch to put their own kick in to try and achieve the same outcomes


Other things to think about

There are plenty of other skills involved in such a simple small sided game including Kicking, Play the ball, Tackling, Support, Kick Chase, Grip and Carry, Grip into Contact. I would let majority of this go unless it is really poor such as incorrect play the ball or poor carry and concentrate on what you are trying to achieve from the game.

If you have the numbers you could make it competitive by having a 3rd team and play winner stays on. The WIN does not have to be scoring a try it may be forcing a drop out or trapping within a certain area from the kick.

Allowing your players to coach

This obviously depends on the age and experience of the player but can be used in different ways with different ones.

If you are playing with 3 teams, the team that is resting can watch the game and along with a coach asking pertinent questions can look at how the other 2 teams are playing and can then feedback how they thought the previous game went to their team mates.

This really helps the team culture and engenders trust within teammates.


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Download Ground Ball Retreival - Small sided game (65)


What would you do to change the game? How could it be improved? We would like your feedback, post your comments below.

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