Are lineout sessions boring and repetitive, do we waste valuable time every session?

All good coaches prepare a session for their team, there is normally a specific focus to the session, whether this is: defence, attack, handling etc. Coaches will dedicate a certain proportion of that time to split and work on position related skills. The backs will go off and work on their kicking, passing and backs moves and forwards will find the boggiest part of the pitch to do their scrums and lineouts.

However, how many of us prepare the same detailed session for this part of the session? The amount of sessions I have watched where the forwards trundle over to the 5 meter line and commence their normal lineout session, which is normally flat and repetitive. All coaches have their own style and strength/weaknesses, and a common excuse that we come across is ‘I was a back and so don’t know anything about lineouts’ or ‘All you do in the lineout is lift someone’.  Whatever level you coach or play rugby, everyone wants to have fun and enjoy playing.

How do we move away from 7 players standing between the 5m-15m line getting cold, lifting every other lineout at best?

The answer is simple; just vary your sessions, how many coaches focus on using games to motivate their players, why can’t this be the same for lineouts. There are a vast number of different games and fun drills that can be used to both improve and more importantly motivate our players. Some of our favourites here at SRC are below:

All forwards into groups of three, 2 lifters and one jumper in the middle.

  1. Quickest on the buzzer- All groups along one line and when the coach blows his whistle, all groups have to lift their jumper up the quickest.
  1. Tower of Power- All groups along one line and when the coach blows his whistle, all groups have to lift their jumper and hold them up the longest against their team mates.
  1. Lineout Netball: A very simple game of netball, the only way the ball can move is between jumpers who are lifted in the air. If the jumper lands on the floor with the ball, turnover. The defence, can only win the ball back by tracking the opposition and blocking the ball.

Something as simple as reducing the numbers in the lineout and making everyone lift and jump, not only keeps everyone involved but it also develops competition and more importantly it allows players to improve their technical skills while improving their overall understanding of the specific skill required to perform an effective lineout.

Harrison Collins
Head of Coach Development at SRC