Rugby Sidestep Essentials

Rugby sidestep essentials helping you perform effective steps. Information on when and where to step and how to spot opportunities.

Wht's needed for an effective sidestep

You are the ball carrier

In a rugby match you`re allowed to sidestep without the ball - but it`s pretty pointless!

Sidesteps are for cleverly getting the ball past the opposition.

If you don`t already have the ball, make sure you're in a position to receive it from players close by.

You must be behind the ball carrier to receive the ball and you must be near enough for a good pass to reach you.

Knowing this means you won`t be wasting good sidesteps just running past opponents without the ball!

But who knows what`s to come. Maybe ball carrier sidesteps synchronised with support player sidesteps?

A whole backline changing direction in one stride!

Spy out the land

Use time without the ball to spy out the land and make your sidestep effective.

Constantly scan the area around you.

Know where your team mates are, for support and avoiding contact.

Know where the opposition is, so you can get past them.

You must look for weaknesses in the opposition defence

  • defenders in jagged lines
  • defenders struggling because they are injured or unfit
  • wider gaps than normal between defenders

  • defenders looking towards or facing their own line
  • defenders who may be slower than others
  • defenders who are less agile

  • defenders who commit themselves easily or rashly
  • defenders who are isolated
  • defenders running too fast/slow to react well enough to stop you

You must look for good opportunities.

  • in opposition 22 is likely to be more damaging than in your own
  • the fewer opposition players in the area the better

Remember things are changing rapidly. You must scan constantly.

You know you must be very perceptive. Practice when you're watching rugby games. Look for weaknesses.

Say to yourself "I can see a wider gap/isolated player/inattentive player..." then look. You'll always see more when you`re looking for something specific.

Next thing you know it`s a habit and you do it instinctively.

Practice anywhere and everywhere. Pick a colour/type of car/number, then start looking for it. Say "I can see a red..." and say what you see that`s red. Just one after the other.

You`ll be surprised how much more jumps out at you. Things you never noticed before. Keep repeating the exercise. Soon you will see more without saying anything to yourself.

Go over the same area again, you'll probably see things you missed the first time.

They must know where you`re going

You`ve found a weakness, but they don`t know.

They want to know where you`re going. If they know that, they can arrange to meet you along the way and tackle you.

They`ll "know" where you`re going by seeing your speed, direction and the signals your body gives out.

Make sure your opponents know EXACTLY where you're going. Help them. Make it easy!

Then make sure you are somewhere else when they get there!

It's all a performance.

You identify a weakness. Say, a gap you intend to slip through. You select another point. Do everything you can to help your opponents know that`s where you`re going.

You must be convincing. Everything about you must say the same thing. "I`m going over there. I know I can beat you going that way"

Knowing this means you know it`s important your whole body say the same thing - "that`s where I`m going".

Meet where it`s best for YOU!

You must manipulate things for your own advantage. Make sure the place where the tackler thinks the tackle will take place is the best place for you, not them!

Run straight at them and they have to stay where they are or run straight towards you. Use this to maintain the existing space on either side of the defender.

Run at one of their shoulders and they have to move in that direction or risk you running straight past them. Use this to increase space where it`s required and also to make it more difficult for them to change direction.

Sometimes there`s no running. The player is in position ready to tackle and you must move to avoid being tackled.

Knowing this means you know how to move players into positions that suit you best - and why you move them.

Take them by surprise

Convincing them they KNOW where you`re going is a huge part of the sidestep.

You`re so convincing that all their effort is put into getting to the place they know they`re going to tackle you.

That`s what they're seeing. That`s what they`re rehearsing.

But you`re seeing something completely different!

You're rehearsing something completely different!

You've done it enough times before.

You know you can leave it really late if that`s what`s needed.

You know you'll do it at the right moment without even thinking.

BANG!

You unleash your sidestep.

It's too late for them. No time to react.

You're through and gone!

Knowing this means you will always be one step ahead. You also know you have to practice enough to do it on demand, with split-second timing!