Lineout throwing is a specialist skill.
Throughout my professional career I have always been amazed that there are very few specialist lineout throwing coaches.
Gone are the days where a winger (yes, a winger!) would simply fling the ball into the lineout and hope for the best! Like place kicking in rugby, throwing requires endless practice, focus and mental strength.
Every professional rugby hooker spends hour after hour practicing their throwing. Usually this time spent practicing is not utilized. In fact, much of this time is totally wasted! Hookers usually get a bag of rugby balls, stand in front of a stationary object and attempt to hit their target. This is a futile exercise. Not once in any match is this situation re-created. In match situations, hookers are fighting fatigue, noise, pressure, moving targets and many more variables. This is why a Specialist Throwing Coach is needed.
Through my experiences as a player and as a coach I have developed a deep understanding of lineout play. Along with various coaches and on my own, I have spent hours upon hours analysing videos of set piece play, particularly lineouts.
I have recognized the need for access to a specialist throwing coach. Too often it is taken for granted that a hooker can throw a variety of accurate and consistent lineout throws under immense pressure. This is a specialist skill which requires ongoing practice and attention.
During my specialist coaching sessions I employ a number of throwing specific drills as well as using essential pieces of equipment. These drills isolate individual body parts, such as hands and core, needed for optimum lineout throwing. The equipment I use includes gym balls, weighted rugby balls, balance boards and more.
Vast improvement in lineout throwing is not going to happen overnight. It is a specialist skill. However, with continued coaching and more importantly, practice, your throwing and your confidence in your throwing will improve out of sight.
Lineout – win the lineout, win the match
Gavin Hickie, USA Rugby U20s Forwards Coach, is a former Ireland, Leinster and Leicester rugby player now based in California and taking rugby to the USA. He writes for RugbyMag.com and other publications when not coaching for Belmont Shore and blogging on lineoutcoach.com #busy