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Improving Your Kicking Game
Tips on how and when to kick
Posted Feb 24, 2012 by Tips and Techniques
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Many people look at kicking in rugby as a negative tactic, just aimed at getting the ball down the field and away from your own try line, but it can be a real skill. Unfortunately, a lot of teams do use the ‘boot it away’ method but that is simply because they don’t have the ball carriers in their side.
Here are some tips that will hopefully help you, or your team, improve how and when you kick the ball.
Kicking can be a method of applying pressure onto the opposition. There are two ways to kick for pressure, the high ball and the wiper. The high ball aims to have a team mate sprinting after it and up the field, hopefully getting there before the opponent who is already there waiting for the ball to drop. The wiper is a diagonal ball across the field into empty space for your wingers to chase after, pinning the opposition into an area of the field they don’t want to be in.
Kicking for position can take you into the opposition’s half, getting you into an area where you can cause some damage and get close to scoring. A kick that lands near the touchline can mean that you can push the opposition out wide where they are forced into trying to come infield, or if the ball bounces out of play, you have the lineout in a dangerous area, particularly if you’ve kicked from a mark. This tactic is extremely effective if you have quick chasers, but you will need people to stay back in case the opposition collect and kick back towards your own try line.
Disruptive kicking is also very beneficial to a side, particularly if the opposition are a much more skilful team, or if they have a solid line of defence. Chip kicks work well by going up and over the defence, with a chaser aiming to get in behind the opposition, grab the ball and sprint for the line, while grubber kicks aim to go almost through the opposition for a chaser.
To help decide which kicking method to use in a game, think about the weather conditions. If it’s a windy day, unless the wind can help you and hinder the opposition, it may be best to ignore the high kick plans and use flatter kicks that stay under the wind. Similarly, you need to decide on your game plan. If you want to play an attacking style of rugby against an opposition, then defensive kicking isn’t going to work for you, but kicking for position and to put the opposition defence under pressure would work.