Practicing effectively with limited equipment

Limited equipment? A ball is all you need

It is nice to have all of the cool equipment out there. Having limited equipment should however not be a determining factor in how effective your practice sessions are.

You guessed it. All the equipment you need for an effective practice session is shown in the picture on this page.

The only limit you have with limited equipment is the limit of your creativity. I am not saying that it is easy practicing like this, but you can get very far with only a rugby ball and a small piece of grass to practice on.

Everything is however not sunshine and roses when you have limited equipment. There will be some difficulties doing everything but with enough creativity, you can literally address all aspects of the game.

Examples of what you can do with limited equipment

We have a decent selection of suggestions in our rugby skills section, but we would like to give you a few quick ideas. We will take the worst-case scenario of only have a ball and a small area to practice in.

The most important thing to remember is that you need to work at high intensity. When you have access to 5 balls, each player would potentially have 5 times the number of interactions in the same amount of time.

When you only have the one, you need to think a little creatively about how you put together your practice. Working in a small area actually helps with this. If you have a block for example of roughly 10m x 10m, there wouldn’t be a lot of time wasted running around.

Quick catching and passing

Something that your players will really enjoy is a little competition. Put together a passing drill where you want to see how quickly they can get to 100 passes (that are caught). Do it twice in a row. Then later in the practice, you do it again to see if they are able to beat their own time.

What you get from it: players with an increased competitive spirit, faster hands, better reflexes and enjoying every minute of it

Offensive creativity

Let players attack in different ways. Make a small goal area with an odd shape that should be attacked. Players can pass in any direction and attack in any way to try and score. This can be done by making a 2m x 2m circle in your playing area and putting defenders around it. Then it is up to the attackers to get in there.

Give the attackers 20 seconds to score by any means possible. If they don’t score in time, or score in the 20 seconds, you swap teams. Keep giving them suggestions on how to score to help them figure out new ways to get over the line

What you get from it: players that think about attacking in a whole new way. They will be able to think about the defense they face and try and figure out how to get over the line. Exactly what you want!

Defense without enough players

If you play against a good offensive team you will find yourselves having to defend against an overlap. If you can train your players to work with limited numbers, you will be able to keep them in more close games and give them a real chance of winning.

Set up half the number of defenders against the attackers. Play a small game of touch rugby with the smaller number of defenders for 1 minute. The goal for the attacking players is to score as many times as possible in 1 minute.

The goal of the defenders is to keep them out. There are two basic lessons your defenders should learn from this:

  1. Keep your defensive line – if they keep playing these quick 1 minute games and you keep pointing it out to them, they will start to understand the value of keeping a defensive line despite continuous attacks
  2. Continue focusing on defense and never give up – the attacking team will often score in this 1 minute and sometimes score a couple of times. Your defenders should keep the focus and keep working to try and keep them out despite the setback of letting the attackers in

What you get from it: hard-working defenders. Defenders that communicate. Defenders that don’t give up.

Don’t let limited equipment ever stop you from coaching successfully

I know I only touched on a handful of examples above, but I hope you get the idea. There are some amazing things that you can do with a ball, a little patch of grass, some willing players and a coach that puts in the effort.

It has been mentioned a couple of times throughout the coaching section on the site: If you put in the planning, you will find the success.

The only limit you will have is your imagination and that is something that can be overcome. Keep learning. Keep asking the questions. Keep reading