Friday, June 08, 2007

Left vs Right (rugby, not politics)

I received an inquiry from a coach with a left-handed fly-half today. She is looking for information about how to minimize the impact this has on the player's game, specifically the kicking game.

The conventional wisdom, as least what I've been exposed to, is that it's not so important whether you are left or right dominant, as long as we are are coaching our players to do everything from both sides. In that perfect world we dream of, players should all be able to pass and kick equally well from both hands and both feet.

Now - I also know there's lots of really detailed information floating around out there about left footed vs right footed kickers, that there's some visual math we can do that goes something like this:

If a (left or right) footed kicker puts a ball down the (left or right) side of the pitch, the ball will spin (clockwise or counterclockwise) and will then bounce (in or out) of touch if it hits the ground just inside the line.

Request #1: Is there someone out there who can describe this in terms we can all understand?

I've also heard coaches talk (and have reserved my opinion) about how you should choose wings to play specifically right and left, based upon the idea of handedness that goes something like this:

Since the majority of players are right handed, it stands to reason that players will be more successful moving the ball all the way to the wing on the left side side of the pitch, since they will be more effective passing left (since we use the right hand to pass left). Assuming this is true it is more likely that you will get the overlap on the left and need a player to turn the corner. The right wing will more than likely engage in more contact (since the ball theoretically would move slower when the ball goes down the line on the right). So, when choosing wings, turn-the-corner speed = left wing, win-the-contact = right wing.

Yet another idea is that the wings play left and right based on their "footedness", rather than handedness, and that the whole left right thing maps the the kicking problem above.

As if that's not all of it, several coaches swear by the idea of playing one type of wing on the right because the blind side is more likely to be attacked on the right, vs the left.

Request #2 - Would someone in the know explain the left/right wing selection?

The left-right thing goes on - should we kick to the left side of the field because its harder to move the ball right after the receipt? Some coaches play left and right flanker rather than open and blind, and so on and so on and so on.

The original original request was about helping the left handed fly-half developing the right handed kicking and passing skills - any recommendations beyond the standard "always train both hands and feet?"

Thanks in advance, i hope to see some interesting comments!

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

Who cares? Rugby should be fun and not technically analised or scientifically appraised. There are people dying of starvation and HIV in the third world.