Combination of Technique and Philosophy
Ultimately a coach’s philosophy / strategy at the tackle contest will dictate the style of play their teams will adopt. The speed of the tackle contest can hugely influence the ability of defensive teams to react and counter any attack. There are a multitude of techniques that can be used at the tackle contest to ‘win the ruck’ and different competitions have significantly different approaches to the tackle contest and therefore style of play.
Two main strategies at the ruck rely on completely different techniques – first arriving players stopping at the ball – first arriving players going past the ball. Coaches seem on the whole to prefer 1 of the above approaches and therefore their training becomes 1-dimensional.
Pro-Performance Rugby’s approach is to equip coaches with the knowledge that will arm players with multiple techniques through open and closed drill environments – then challenge players to make ‘on the run’ decisions in game scenarios using visual cues of the events in front of them. This approach enables players to be effective in relation to the situation and not have a pre-prescribed approach to the tackle contest which allows for a style of play that can take opportunities when presented or slow play down to re-organise.