Rugby kicking basics

Master the rugby kicking basics. You will be a more valuable player and enjoy your rugby more. Create options - get right the things common to good rugby kicks.

Common tips for various kicks

Controlling the ball

You are off to a good start when you control the ball well.

You kick well when you place the ball well.

Holding the ball well allows you to place it well on you foot

Be sure you hold the ball well before getting too far into individual kicks. Find out about it under "Core skills".

Some important points

You will kick well when you concentrate on just a few things.

  • look at and think about the ball
  • place the ball correctly

  • point the ball where you want it to go
  • kick in the direction you want the ball to go
  • follow the ball with your leg

Some of these points may seem so obvious they are not worth mentioning, but you will remember them now even in stressful situations.

There are many distractions in a game of rugby.

Spend enough time practicing and you will improve your basic skills.

It will also help you concentrate on the physical task in hand despite the distractions.

Also spend time training your vision and thoughts deliberately. Toss the ball from hand to hand. Toss the ball in the air and catch it.

All the time keep your eyes wide open. Focus them on the ball.

Think about the ball as you do it. Notice the colours. Notice what it feels like. See how it spins and rotates.

Do some every day for a while. Make it a habit to look at the ball. Watch it right into your hands.

You will be better prepared and able to guide the ball onto your foot so you kick the ball well in general play.

Looking at the ball

Focus your attention on the ball.

You kick well when you have good eye/body co-ordination.

You have good co-ordination because you practice enough so that concious thought is no longer required to perform your skills!

For good kicking, your body is like a well oiled machine just producing one more repetition of a previously honed set of movements.

Placing the ball

When you kick well part of the reason is because you place the ball well

This is one of the basics that applies to conversions, penalties and dropkicks where you position the ball on a kicking tee or on the ground and for other kicks where you place the ball on your foot.

Think about all the angles involved and how the ball must be placed well to get the ball to your intended target.

The slightest error (millimetres?) in where the ball is pointing is enough to ruin an otherwise perfect kick. Practice so you get it right without thinking.

Is the ball upright or leaning to one side. How will that affect the distance, height or the direction the ball travels.

Is the ball is leaning forwards or backwards. How will this affect the kick. Is it likely to affect the distance the ball travels, the height the ball goes or the direction.

It does matter but importance varies from kick to kick.

Point the ball where you want it to go

Why mention this. It seems so obvious but it is one of the rugby kicking basics.

Have a bit of fun.

When you watch televised games, look closely at conversions when you are given a good view of the ball and the posts.

Is the ball actually pointing at the black dot on the crossbar?

Make a prediction. Base it simply on whether you see or feel the ball is pointing at the centre of the posts. I do this and I`m very often correct with my prediction.

It`s true strong winds are an exception. They affect your aim and you have to allow for that by slightly changing where the ball is pointing.

Kick in the direction you want the ball to go

Again it seems pretty obvious!

Even when you use a special kick like the spiral punt you kick in the direction you want the ball to travel. The spin is applied even though you kick straight.

Practice your kicking along straight lines marked on the field or towards specific targets. That way you measure how well you kick and how much you have improved.

You follow through

It`s important to kick through the ball - one of the more important rugby kicking basics.

This means you keep all your kicking actions going long after actual contact with the ball. In other words you "follow through".

When you practice it may help to place a marker on the ground several paces past where you intend to strike the ball with your boot. Aim to finish at the marker rather than at the point where you strike the ball.

Try with and without a marker. You may find you achieve more distance with the marker. Then let it become a habit.

Also let make your leg follow through rather than "chopping" at the ball. Make your boot and leg follow the ball.

Develop a powerful array of tools in your kicking toolbox.