Imagine Rugby Blogs

Coaching Tips: Scrummaging

Games can be won and lost in the scrum

Posted Jun 28, 2011 by Tips and Techniques

Scrummaging is a key part of rugby

Many games can be won or lost in the scrum, and which team manages to keep their discipline and drive on. For that reason, it is essential that teams work on their scrummaging, and in real situations. Here are some ideas for you to incorporate into your training sessions that will, hopefully, enable you to improve how you, and your team, perform in a scrum.

Make sure all players are involved. There is no point only working with your first choice scrum players, get your replacements involved also, even as the opposition. Also ensure your scrum half and fly half are participating so that all methods are worked on. Try routines of winning the ball, fly half kicks to the far corner for the winger to chase and score. Alternatively, try driving and then forcing the ball over the try line through pressure.

Keep experienced and inexperienced players apart in the early drills, until everyone knows what they are doing. A less experienced player could use a friend or family member to practise with away from the training ground. This enables them to work on their body position in their own time, where they can focus on getting the technique correct. This also enables them to learn their own methods, rather than the habits the experienced players have learned.

Practise in the warm up. Make sure all players who will be needed in the scrum go through their routines in the pre-match or pre-training warm ups, that way the players are in the groove and ready to go into the scrum when called upon, which could be the first minute or the last.

If you have the money in your club, a scrum machine can be beneficial. Forming a scrum, you can work as a team against the machine, giving your players the ‘crouch, touch, pause, engage’ calls that a referee would give.

Technique is important. Work on technique in the scrum, and you’re more likely to succeed. First, work on the body position of each player. Keep the shoulders above the hip and that players are looking up and forwards, this means they will keep their back straight, preventing the scrum from collapsing.

Next work on the strength of the lateral and forward bind. The tightness of this bind can increase the power of the whole scrum. Similarly with the forward bind, if the locks, flankers, props and number 8s bind effectively, it will increase the power.

Forward drive is the final piece of the jigsaw. Transferring power from the legs, through the shoulders and into the player in front is important for getting the scrum going forwards. Practise with a one-on-one drill or onto a contact pad. 

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