Thursday, March 29, 2007

Lineouts - Getting the jumpers up fast

I received this in my inbox this morning ...

My players are asking for more help with the lineout, and they have correctly identified the fact that our biggest weakness is getting the jumper into the air quickly. Are there any good drills for this? Today I just had two pods going up and competing for the ball, neither was designated ''offense'' and they just had to go on the thrower. I'm just curious to know if anyone has any other ideas for working on this skill.

There are alot things at play here ... are you lifting legs or shorts? Are the jumpers moving or static? Going straight up or into the tunnel? Either way, getting into the air fast is a matter of the lifters reacting to the jumper, and minimizing all the extranous stuff at the actual jump (cadences, steps, delays in binding, etc).
As to timing, if we time things off the thrower, both teams get to initiate their actions at the same time, and neither team will get an appreciable advantage.

I like to use very dynamic lineouts and put everything in the hands of the jumpers. The lifters then have only one task .. lift, or don't lift. As to the mechanics - each jumper is a little different and I like to let them be. I don't personally believe in any kind of cadence at all for jumpers and lifters - again, its all about the jumper moving quickly and the lifters reacting. This is JUST my opinion, I've seen some static lineouts where the jumpers get up fast, its just not my personal preference.

So - if you want to develop speed, make your games/drills about speed. Instead of the "winner" being the one who has the ball, the "winner" can be the fastest unit. Here is a sample format.

Set up a line of 6 cones 5 meters apart. Set up as many of these in parallel as you have lifter/thrower groups. It's a race.

Throwers all start on the first cone, jumping pods on the second. On "GO" the group has to execute a lineout. When the ball is successfully caught in the air, the jumper passes it back the the thrower, and the whole unit moves to the next cone. When they hit the last cone, they now come forward, repeating the process. If the lineout is not successful, the group has to stay on the cone until they get it right. At the end of it every group will have executed at least 10 lineouts, under stress, and the winner will be the fastest group.

There are a million variations on this format, and many other lineout games that can be used to develop this speed and the decision making skills that go along with it.

As to off the pitch, your lifters and jumpers should be doing olypmic style lifts - push presses, cleans, jump squats, etc. This will get them faster and more explosive for the lineout tasks.

Great topic Deanna - lets see what everyone else has to say!


Anonymous said...

I really like that drill. I didn't like what we were doing in practice yesterday because we typically like to time our lineouts on the jumpers for the very reason you state in the blog. We'll try it and report back!

Anonymous said...

One variation that I run with my teams, (both men and women) which combines speed and fitness is setting up a grid 20 x 20 for each pod/thrower combo.

At GO, a single pod and a thrower run (not jog) the perimeter of the grid and on the call LINEOUT, they sprint to closest corner in the grid and perform a single throw. Similarly to Lisa's drill, they cannot move until they get a clean ball. They will work their way around the grid until they have 2 clean lineouts at each corner, for a total of 8 jumps and 8 circuits around the grid... the winner is the team that completes the circuit the fastest.

The goal being to work off the timing of the jumper and elevate the work rate. I found that as the fitness begins to wear down, my lifters are doing a majority of the work, becoming dependant on the cadence, and/or the advantage of setting up quickly goes out the window.


Anonymous said...

Just a minor point on the laws. Although we obviously call our lifters "lifters" technically it is illegal to lift. Reference IRB Law 19.9 (g) "Lifting. A lineout player must not lift a team mate. Penalty: Free kick on the 15-metre line".

According to the exact language the team mates are really just "supporting" the jumper. Therefore, the "lifters" are really "supporters"

I don't know if I've ever seen this enforced. But, maybe a higher levels of play they'd be more fussy if lifting was very obvious...


Anonymous said...

Speaking of laws and lineouts, it's also illegal to jump prior to the throw 19.9i or bind below the waist (and aren't the shorts below the waist?) 19.9j. Our club was actually called for that this past weekend. But nobody (usually) calls it. How frustrating that we can't either play by the laws or fix the laws to correspond with how it's called.

But, anyway, I agree, quick and sharp movements is the No. 1 variable that affects whether you win or lose a lineout. Well, that and how the ref might actually enforce the laws.