Place kicking in rugby is a critical skill that can determine the outcome of a game. A well-executed place kick can earn a team three points, and it’s often the responsibility of the fly-half or full-back to execute these kicks. In this article, we’ll explore the techniques and tips for success in place kicking, including the importance of set-up, body position, and follow-through.
When are place kicks used in rugby
Place kicks are used in rugby for a few specific scenarios. They are most commonly used to score points through a penalty kick or a conversion kick.
A penalty kick is awarded to a team when the opposing team commits a penalty. The team awarded the penalty can choose to kick the ball towards the posts to score three points. The kick is taken from where the penalty was committed, and the kicker must use a place kick to attempt the kick.
A conversion kick is taken after a team has scored a try, which is worth five points. The team can then attempt a conversion kick to earn an additional two points. The kick is taken from a spot perpendicular to where the try was scored, and the kicker must use a place kick to attempt the kick.
In addition to penalty kicks and conversion kicks, place kicks may also be used for drop goals. A drop goal is worth three points, and it’s scored by dropping the ball onto the ground and kicking it between the posts during open play. Place kicks are used for drop goals as well, with the kicker required to use a place kick to attempt the kick.
Overall, place kicks are crucial in rugby and are used primarily for scoring points. By mastering the techniques and tips for success in place kicking, players can become valuable assets to their teams and help lead them to victory.
The process of place kicks
The first step in successful place kicking is to get your set-up right. The ball should be placed on the tee with the valve facing towards you. The tee should be placed on the ground, so the ball is tilted towards you slightly. It’s essential to take the time to set up correctly, ensuring that the ball is in the right position and the tee is stable.
Your body position is critical in place kicking. You should stand behind the ball, with your kicking foot slightly behind your non-kicking foot. Your shoulders should be parallel to the touchline, and your hips should be square to the target. Keep your head down and your eyes on the ball throughout the kick.
The approach to the ball is an essential part of successful place kicking. Take three or four steps back from the ball, and then approach it with small, controlled steps. Your plant foot (the non-kicking foot) should land about one foot away from the ball, and your toes should be pointing towards the target.
The contact with the ball is where the magic happens in place kicking. Your kicking foot should be straight and firm, with the toes pointing towards the target. Strike the ball with the middle of your foot, just below the laces. Keep your head down and your eyes on the ball throughout the kick.
The follow-through is an essential part of any kicking technique. After you make contact with the ball, your kicking foot should continue through the ball towards the target. Your plant foot should also move forward, and you should end up balanced on both feet. A good follow-through will help ensure accuracy and power in your kick.
Tips for Success:
- Practice, practice, practice: The only way to become proficient at place kicking is through practice. Spend time each day practising your technique, focusing on set-up, body position, and follow-through.
- Visualise success: Visualisation can be a powerful tool in improving your kicking game. Before you approach the ball, visualise the ball going through the posts and focus on your technique.
- Stay relaxed: Tension in your body can impact the accuracy and power of your kick. Stay relaxed throughout the process, and take a deep breath before each kick to calm your nerves.
- Adapt to the conditions: Weather conditions can impact your kicking game. Take note of the wind and adjust your approach accordingly.
- Confidence is key: Place kicking requires confidence in your ability. Believe in yourself, and trust your technique.
In conclusion, place kicking in rugby is a crucial skill that requires technique, practice, and confidence. By focusing on your set-up, body position, approach, contact, and follow-through, you can improve your place kicking game and help your team to success. So get out there, practice, and become a place kicking master!