Monday, July 30, 2007

Scrummaging - old school vs current style

I was very fortunate over the past few days to get another chance to observe our MNT in training. One of the biggest areas where change has occurred over the past few years is at the scrum. There are more variations on scrummaging than I could possibly cover - bind high, low, high and low, crotch bind, waist bind, pocket bind, balls of feet, splayed feet, lock out, knees bent, bla bla bla.

Much time is being spent improving our scrum, and our MNT scrummaging coach recently did some training with players in Rochester. Clearly this is an area that the MNT staff has identified for improvement in the upcoming world cup.

Rather than dissect the whole thing, I thought it would be useful to post a summary that compares how "we used to do things", with how "we are doing things". Some of he old school methods referred to below may be things you are currently doing, some of the current methods may be things your currently doing. Feel free to comment. Bill LeClerck, the current MNT scrummaging coach, has posted a paper with key points on the usarugby coaches portal - if you've got a chance to check it out, there is a lot of good info there.

old schoolcurrently endorsed method
props sit on locks shouldersprop and locks are perfectly in line - shoulder to buttocks
everybody "looks up", locks looking at their opponenthead is in a neutral position, tongue to teeth, look through the eyebrows to create muscle tension
binds are top priority - shoulders "pop out" for a tight fitbinds are a means to an end - body profile is the top priority, binds are designed to channel power forward
Scrummaging is a "less important" role for flankers and 8flankers and 8 are part of the "back 5" and are critical power contributors, participating in all aspects of training previously thought of as "tight 5 time"
the tight head prop "leads in", and the rest followthe back five, but especially #8, drive the props in, so power generation starts from behind
forwards engage on an auditory cue from the referee, going on "engage", with the front row generally a spit second ahead of the rest of the pack
the #8 takes his/her cue visually from the hooker to initiate the drive, the remainder of the players, while still "listening" react to the drive behind them as the primary trigger
flankers set up in a split legged "sprint start", and maintain the position throughout the scrumflankers set up in a power position and driving just as hard as locks
#8 sets up like a lock and drives off of both legs at engagement#8 sets up in a sprint start and drops the forward leg back at engagement, effectively "letting off the brake"
locks start on their knees, and enter the scrum via the space between the calf and the knee of the prop and hooker, sliding their head up and "locking" it into positionlocks start off their knees, in a comfortable power position, and the props and hookers simply let them in
locks "hang" from the prop in front of them, treating that playe as a pillarlocks bind in such a way as to apply pressure to the buttock/leg "seam", while the props push back against them for balance. Both players have identical profiles
power comes in waves, with an initial drive and secondary drives as distinct phasespressure and tension are continually in balance until the ball is out of the scrum.
locks "lock out", splaying their feet with all 8 cleats in the ground to hold the scrum steadyall 8 stay in a bent legged position applying constant pressure to the individual in front of them, the individual behind them, and the ground
upper body and leg strength are considered THE bottom line attributes of a tight five playercore strength is considered THE bottom line attribute of a tight five player


Your Scrumhalf Connection said...

I really like that table. As a scrumhalf I spend half of my time watching the scrum come together at practice and at games. I find it helpful to educate myself so I can understand what is going on! Very interesting!

proplance said...

Coach, the new method is what some folks, you and I included, have for the most part taught for a while but with some new wrinkles. I used to tell the back 5 that the front row were like battering rams, the transmitters of enertia that they, the back 5, have generated. Some of us have taught the toungue behind the teeth and "turtled" neck for quite a while. Now the naysayers will have to agree that we knew what we were talking about way back when.

The new body position taught by Bill Le Clerc is outstanding. However, it really works if, and only if, everyone is on the same page with PERFECT body position at the "crouch and Hold!!!" It is the style used by the U-19 Women's National with great success.

Oh and the CORE is everything!!!

K-Train said...

Core really is becoming pretty darn paramount.

Lance is dead one when he says that everyone needs to be on the same page though. Not just at the engage though. I have first hand experience feeling what happens when your second row decides they are going to lock out after the engage while you are trying to reload for the drive. Nothing says fun like being caught between your second row and the opposing front row.