Scrum Half Academy
The scrum half is the primary link between the forwards and backs. Every 9 should aspire to be energetic, good communicators and excellent decision makers, plus a high fitness level certainly helps too! As with any position, learning specialist skills takes time so make sure you allow your players the chance to practice them. Encourage it before/after training or set aside 15 minutes where you can to work on the skills below!
The box kick is quickly becoming one of the most effective kicks in the game. Either for clearing your 22 or putting on pressure inside the opposition third. This style of kick is very technical and takes a lot of practice to perfect.
Key elements of the box kick are:
- Foot-position - should be 90 degrees backwards or far back enough to ensure the kick is away from the defending side.
- Hips - must stay square, so ensure power and accuracy throughout the kick.
- Ball placement - should be controlled and not thrown.
- Head Position - stay over the top of the ball, to ensure the ball isn’t sliced or kicked under the ball.
- Leg swing - much like a golf swing the leg should follow straight through the ball to ensure power, players SHOULD NOT stab at the kick.
The flight of a box kick should be short and high if you are kicking to compete, or if you are looking to clear lines, it should be driven low and into touch (from inside the 22).
The pass is the one element of the scrum half that needs to be at its best, maintain accuracy and power on BOTH HANDS. Repetition is key when practicing this skill, the more times you do it the better your pass will be.
Here is a technical breakdown of the pass..
Key elements of the scrum half pass are:
- Foot position - the ball must be placed near the back foot to ensure maximum power is generated, the front foot must be pointed in the direction you want the pass to go.
- Weight transfer - weight should be transferred from the back foot to the front foot - while staying low to increase the power of the pass .
- Hand position - the hands should finish pointing at the target to ensure accuracy.
- Body height - stay low throughout the pass, stay over the top of the ball.
- Follow through - keep you in motion going with the pass, “follow your pass” is often used to generate power and accuracy.
A running scrum half in the modern game is becoming the standout feature. Just look at Aaron Smith, Ben Youngs and Conor Murray, some of the best running 9’s in the game, constantly getting on the score board!
A 9 has to be clever about their lines of running, try to be off the shoulder of lots of line breaks and look for quick snipes around the edges of the ruck. The focus of the 9 should be being there, if there is a break the 9 should aim to be the first offload. If you get your scrum halfs thinking this way they'll be appearing on the score board far more often!
A scrum half does the most running on the field. The fitness required to run from ruck to ruck, to be on the end of line breaks and be a nuisance all over the field requires a lot of fitness. Fitness is something that your players will need to work on week in, week out. It is the scrum half's own responsibility to be the fittest on the field.
Here are some crazy fitness drills to get you going...