Flyhalf – the hero and the villain

Daniel Carter - the best flyhalf in the world

The player that plays with the biggest burden on his shoulders is the flyhalf. They are often hailed as heroes in a team, but one mistake could be the difference between winning and losing for their team. Flyhalves that have set the trend in recent years are Johnny Sexton, Quade Cooper and Handre Pollard. The undisputed best of the lot Daniel Carter in every sense of the word.

The duties of a flyhalf are not enviable as so much of the team’s success hinges on how they perform. They need to have the ability to stay calm under pressure and make the right decisions when it matters.

Although they often receive heaps of praise in a winning performance, they turn into the villain in no time if the team doesn’t.

Attributes of a flyhalf

A flyhalf carries a big responsibility on their shoulders and they need to be up to it. The decisions they need to make in a split second is often the difference between a winning or losing performance for a team.

A flyhalf needs to be able to:

  • kick accurately for field position
  • kick accurately at goal from multiple angles
  • read opposition defenses
  • distribute the ball accurately to both the left and right
  • read opposition offenses and help adjust the defensive line accordingly

How a flyhalf can be used at different age levels

From a very young age, a flyhalf would be the kid that is always running around with a ball and kicking it across the field or at goal. Although other kids might also enjoy this it is usually easier to spot a flyhalf as they will do it whenever they get a chance.

The most important thing for a young flyhalf to focus on is to:

  • ensure that they kick accurately into touch, regardless of how far it goes downfield
  • ensure that they kick accurately at goal, even if they can’t kick great distances
  • distribute to the backline in both directions

Although it is always tempting for these young players to try and do everything on the field, they should try and focus on those three areas and develop that as much as possible.

As they get into their teen years and beyond they need to work on:

  • increase the distance of their kicking for field position
  • increase the distance and accuracy of their kicking at goal (aim for 80% + success rate)
  • improve their reading of opposing defenses to determine how to breach them
  • improve their reading of opposing offenses to ensure they keep their line integrity and defend effectively

The kicking of a flyhalf will always remain the most visible measure of success. What really sets a flyhalf apart though is how well they organize the defensive efforts around them and how they can dismantle an opposing team’s defense.