Rugby exercise Duel in 1+1v1

Cognition in Sport Rugby 1+1v1 exercise

Confidence booster in the Duel.

I have seen this great exercise at the Stage Pierre Villepreux summercamp many years ago and re-discovered how good it is this year working with the Invictus Mini’s. Have a look:

So this is really about letting players discover the space and go forward. When I did this exercise the first time with my fellow trainer Desmond he immediately saw how good this rugby drill is. His observations were spot-on:

  • There is a lot of space to run into!
  • The Ball Carrier has to react and take on the one Defender, who is closing the space;
  • Evade, perhaps change direction and take on the inside space: setting up for side step technique;
  • The Defender has to angle his run, decide on positioning;
  • Same goes for that second attacker, he has to position himself in a way he can continue the attack OR support the Ball Carrier;

Of course we see in the clip one attacker going straight through and score – not a bad thing. He is experiencing how successful you are when you go forward and attack the space. Also, we learned in that same run of the exercise, his Defender is a not so confident in making tackles. Remember, both players and coaches are learning!

Cognitive Development

Cognitive development in the game of rugby is so important. If you cannot READ the game, ANTICIPATE what will happen and REACT to stimulus, then the players effectiveness in a game is drastically reduced.

So we need to develop exercises that require the players to solve a little problem:

  1. Look and recognise patterns (I like to call this strike patterns);
  2. Integrate information;
  3. Anticipate;
  4. Decide;
  5. Plan next step;

All in a split second.

So, with the set-up of this exercise we have a relatively easy strike pattern, the information is easy: the amount of space and how the running line of the Defender is closing this down. The Ball Carrier to anticipate his time to the tackle.  His decision to go for it or step or consider to use his support player.

And yes, there is the physical side of running technique and technical side of evading and passing too. I definitely develop this too, but does it not start with teaching the game?

Progression of this exercise

Okay, you ran this exercise several times and your players are getting good exposure to this “problem” and a getting better at “solving” it. How to progress?

Think about how to make the “problem” a bit more complicated. In the LPM Philosophy it is all about two things:

  1. Starting position of attackers relative to defenders (addressing the balance/unbalance between Attack/Defence)
  2. Introduction of the ball

So, for this exercise think about:

  • Make the Defender’s starting point closer to that of the Ball Carrier?
  • The Defender starts on the same side?
  • Do not start on the side, have the defender start in the middle?

I now actually ask the players: “If you start here, is that easier or more difficult?”;

SuperCoach Online

This exercise is part of a whole set I put in the database that all relate to this Duel and cognitive development. Download the exercise following the link below.

Coaches who use my tool have an App that show this description PLUS the clip PLUS a chalkboard animation. He can prepare for the training, or use the App to show his players the drill. How great is that!

(The App also features team agenda, a presence/absence tracker and more).

Wrap up

The more I read and learn about player development, the more I am surprised that LPM and Pierre Villepreux were introducing these exercises many, many years ago…. Every year there is this Stage Pierre Villepreux summercamp and Pierre runs a course for trainers at the same time, a great opportunity to learn and understand this method.

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