Rugby is a dynamic and physical sport that requires a diverse range of skills, including tackling, passing, and kicking. Kicking in rugby is an essential part of the game, and mastering different types of kicks can help you gain territorial advantage, score points, and put your team in a better position to win. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the different types of kicks in rugby, their uses, and techniques to improve your kicking game.
The punt kick is one of the most basic types of kicks in rugby, and it’s used to clear the ball from your team’s half to gain territory. The aim of a punt kick is to kick the ball as high as possible and as far as possible to put your team in a better position on the field. Punt kicks can be done using either foot and are commonly used by fullbacks and fly-halves.
To improve your punt kick, you need to practise your kicking technique regularly. Start by standing with the ball in your hands and kicking it as high as possible. Focus on getting a good contact with the ball, and try to kick it straight up in the air. Once you’ve mastered the basic technique, practice kicking the ball as far as possible while maintaining good height.
The grubber kick is a low kick that’s used to roll the ball along the ground. This type of kick is useful for gaining territory when the opposing team’s defence is pressing hard, and you need to get the ball into their half quickly. The grubber kick is usually performed using the toe of your foot, and it requires a good sense of timing and accuracy.
To improve your grubber kick, practice kicking the ball low to the ground while maintaining good control. Start by standing with the ball in front of you, and practice tapping the ball lightly with your toe to make it roll along the ground. As you get better, try to kick the ball harder while still keeping it low.
The drop kick is a classic rugby kick that’s used to score points. It’s performed by dropping the ball onto the ground and then kicking it just as it bounces up. The aim of a drop kick is to kick the ball over the crossbar and between the posts to score either three or two points, depending on where you are on the field.
To improve your drop kick, start by practising your kicking technique without the ball. Focus on getting a good contact with the ball and kicking it straight up in the air. Once you’ve got the basic technique down, start practising your timing by dropping the ball and kicking it just as it bounces up. Keep practising until you can consistently kick the ball over the crossbar.
Up and Under Kick
The up and under kick is a high kick that’s used to put pressure on the opposing team’s defence. It’s performed by kicking the ball high into the air, and then chasing after it to put pressure on the opposing team’s fullback. The aim of an up and under kick is to either regain possession of the ball or force the opposing team to make a mistake.
To improve your up and under kick, start by practising your kicking technique. Focus on getting a good contact with the ball and kicking it straight up in the air. Once you’ve got the basic technique down, practice kicking the ball high while maintaining good control. As you get better, practice chasing after the ball and timing your jump to catch it at its highest point.
The crossfield kick is a diagonal kick that’s used to switch the direction of play quickly. It’s performed by kicking the ball across the field, from one side to the other, to create space and put pressure on the opposing team’s defence. The crossfield kick is usually performed by fly-halves and centres, and it requires good accuracy and timing.
To improve your crossfield kick, practise your kicking technique and focus on getting a good contact with the ball. Start by kicking the ball straight in front of you, and then progress to kicking it diagonally across the field. Practise your accuracy by trying to kick the ball to a specific player or spot on the field.
The box kick is a high, looping kick that’s used to put pressure on the opposing team’s defence and regain possession of the ball. It’s usually performed by scrum-halves, and it requires good timing and accuracy. The box kick is effective when the opposing team’s defence is pushing up, and there’s space behind them.
To improve your box kick, practise your kicking technique and focus on getting a good contact with the ball. Start by kicking the ball high and far, and then progress to kicking it with more accuracy. Practise your timing by kicking the ball just as your team’s forwards reach the breakdown.
Tactics for Kicking in Rugby
Kicking is not just about having a powerful leg, but also about understanding the game and making the right decisions at the right time. Here are some essential tactics to keep in mind when kicking in rugby:
Read the Game
Successful kickers are constantly reading the game, analysing the opposition’s strengths and weaknesses, and identifying opportunities to gain an advantage. This involves keeping an eye on the field and anticipating where the ball needs to go.
Use the Wind
Wind can be a significant factor in rugby, and understanding how to use it to your advantage can give you an edge. Kicking with the wind behind you can help the ball travel further, while kicking against the wind may require a different technique to keep the ball low and accurate.
Vary the Kicks
A good kicker knows when to use different types of kicks to keep the opposition guessing. Mixing up your kicks can make it harder for the opposition to predict your next move and can open up more opportunities to gain ground or score points.
Work with Your Teammates: Kicking is not a solo effort, and successful kickers need to work closely with their teammates to create opportunities. This involves communicating with the scrum-half and other players to coordinate moves and positioning.
Techniques for Kicking in Rugby
Along with these tactics, kickers must also possess proper techniques to ensure accuracy and power. Here are some key techniques to keep in mind:
- Approach: The approach to the ball is crucial, and kickers need to have a consistent approach to ensure accuracy. This involves taking the right number of steps back, and approaching the ball at the right angle.
- Plant Foot: The plant foot is the foot that remains on the ground while the other foot kicks the ball. The plant foot should be placed in a stable position, pointing towards the target, and should not move until after the ball has been kicked.
- Contact: The contact point is where the ball meets the foot, and this should be in the centre of the foot’s sweet spot. This ensures maximum power and accuracy.
- Follow Through: A good follow-through is essential for a successful kick. After making contact with the ball, the kicking foot should continue in the direction of the target, and the non-kicking arm should be extended for balance.
- Practice: Like any skill, kicking in rugby requires practice, and kickers should spend time working on their technique and accuracy. This involves kicking from different angles, distances, and positions to simulate game situations.
In rugby, kicking is an essential skill that can significantly impact the outcome of a game. Understanding the different types of kicks and employing the right tactics and techniques can help kickers to be successful. By reading the game, using the wind to their advantage, varying their kicks, and working with their teammates, kickers can create opportunities and put pressure on the opposition. Along with proper techniques such as approach, plant foot, contact, and follow-through, regular practice is crucial for mastering the art of kicking in rugby. With these skills in hand, kickers can play a vital role in their team’s success and help to secure a victory.