Rugby Drills That Keep Your Social Distance

As of June 1st, many rugby teams have been granted the option of getting together to conduct practice. However, the practices must adhere to the six feet social distancing rules and players are not allowed to use any equipment. Therefore, options for a practice plan are going to be extremely limited, but that doesn't mean you can't still get some good out of having the team together. 

Whether it's conditioning, communication, strategy, or whatever, there are still a number of functional drills your team can do while together -- but six feet apart:

Stationary Exercise Relay Race

With your squad divided up into even teams, spread out across the field in rows, with players spaced six feet apart. Go through various exercises, and makes sure one guy in line doesn't go until the guy ahead of him finishes. Some examples of stationary exercises might include burpees, pushups, sit-ups, squat jumps, star jumps, mountain climbers, or air squats, among many more. 

Everyone's Favorite: Wind Sprints

We all love huffing and puffing up and down the field for 20 minutes, don't we? NO. But exhausting as it may be, there is unquestionably a lot that can come from doing sprints. While it's great for conditioning, it also works on mental toughness, supporting teammate, and maintaining your discipline and technique while your body wants to quit. In a rugby game, there will always be moments where your body will want to give up. It's during these times especially where you have to push yourself and your teammates to fight through the pain and get on with the job. Training your mind to do this during training, during something like wind sprints, is a strong way to condition yourself to get the job done right during the real game. 

Rugby Golf (But Each Player Needs His/Her Own Ball)

This one will require everyone to have their own ball, but it's easy, engaging, and highly useful to work on your kicking from hand skills. How do you play? In groups of up to five, pick out an object in the distance and then take turns kicking the ball toward the object. As with golf, you want to hit the object with the ball in as few shots as possible. 

Communication Station

There are all sorts of communicating games you can do, and there are tons of ways to get creative with it. One of the best games is to get a group of five players to form a box with one player in the middle. The player in the middle keeps their eyes open while the other four close theirs. The objective is to pick a location somewhere and have the player in the middle direct the four on the outsides with his/her words. It's a good way to build communication skills because the player in the middle must learn to use clear, concise language that everyone can understand. In a game, communicating what you see to someone who is looking somewhere else is a key skill. Think about a center talking to the fly-half while the fly-half is looking inside at the scrum-half. Communicating with eyes closed is also a good way to develop trust between players. 

Defensive Mirroring

Get one player to be the "attacker", and one or more to be the defenders. Spread out and keep your space, but have the attacker move forwards, backwards, sideways, and diagonally and then have the defenders mirror whatever they're doing. This is great for footwork and communicating. 

Defensive or Offensive Shape

You can always have your team work on attack patterns and defensive structure without a ball. Shift an imaginary ball around if you need to, and maintain your shape. It's probably going to be a better strategy for 7s rugby, but the good news there is that we are approaching 7s season. 

These are just a few simple ideas for a practice plan, and there are surely other great ways to be productive without a ball and while maintaining space. 

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