Kicking for touch to get into a better position

Morne Steyn kicking the ball for the Springboks

There are few things as frustrating as seeing a kick sail downfield and not going into touch followed by a counterattack from your opponents. Kicking or touch is a non-negotiable skill for a flyhalf. Dan Carter (the legend that he is) has always been one of the best kickers for touch. Handre Pollard has been immense for South Africa in this category in recent years. A standout for South Africa, the Blue Bulls and Stade Francais in recent years has been Morne Steyn.

The ability of a good flyhalf to kick downfield accurately is crucial. The goal of kicking is to get into a better field position. This can either be to get out of a high-pressure defensive situation in your own 22 or to get into an attacking situation in your opponent’s half.

Up to around the year 2000 players used to prefer to kick a torpedo style kick, which was both accurate and often travelled great distances. Since then most players have adopted a style of kicking similar to the kicking style of AFL players.

Kicking for touch accurately

Rugby ball sweet spot for kicking

Kicks these days are aimed at accuracy rather than just distance. This is done by hitting the rugby ball on the sweet spot.

To kick the ball in a straight line you simply need to point the ball towards your target before dropping it straight down.

(We will be adding video at a later stage to demonstrate proper kicking form at a later stage)

As you get comfortable with kicking the ball straight, you can start experimenting with the banana kick. This is a kick that drifts either left or right. This is used to get maximum distance on the kick and only have the ball drift towards touch at the end of its journey.

To do a banana kick that drifts to the left, you will merely point the front of the ball slightly to the left. You will still kick it straight, but the angle at which your foot hits the ball will result in it drifting towards touch. If you want to kick it to the right you just point the front of the ball slightly to the right.

Successful kicking is directly linked with rhythm, rather than brute force. Striking the ball with a good rhythm using sound technique will result in far more accurate kicking. The same goes for striking a golf ball, hitting a cricket ball with a bat or kicking a soccer ball.