Up next in the “8 Steps That will make Your Lineout Function.” series is Step 3 Jumping in the Lineout.
More often than not, especially domestically, when guys aren’t confident in their jumping they’ll get into place and simply expect to be lifted. A lineout jumper cannot expect his lifters to simply lift him, he must jump as high as he can, while maintaining control of his body.
A great explanation of the type of jump we are looking for came from England’s back row Tom Wood who said ‘the jumper needs to jump to the maximum of their ability, like you are trying to jump on a wall just out of reach and you are really going for it with a full outstretched jump into the air at which time the lift will kick in’.
What is the best technique for jumping in the lineout?
Movement before the jump will vary, depending on the lineout call, but the fundamental technique of the jump itself, remains consistent.
- Power off the ground
- Drive your hands up towards where the ball will be
- Maintain a strong core by squeezing your glutes and quads.
It is important to maintain this posture and ensure you keep your legs straight and together while in the air. This enables your lifters to focus on their job of keeping you safe in the air.
What the professionals say
Flanker Tom Wood describes the jumping process;
“You want to be as dynamic as you can, throw your arms up as if you were jumping onto a wall. Stay strong through your core. You have tape on your legs for the lifters so keep your legs tight together, squeeze your bum cheeks so your core strength is all fired up and there is no movement and that also provides a good shelf for the back lifter to push from.”
Lock Joe Launchbury, who, aims to replicate the same routine every time he jumps, so his lifters know when he is going to jump, highlights consistency. “If you jump around every time the more likely they are to miss you so I do the same footwork pattern every time and jump on the same spot which that helps a lot.”
Italy’s Marco Bortolami also states the importance of jumping and landing in the same spot regardless of the flight of the ball, but emphasises the co-ordination of the jumping pod. “A good jumper is able to coordinate the lifters to enable them to lift him properly. A lineout jump is more a coordination between 3 players than a basic athletic skill.”
Watch my video on the 8 Steps to make your Lineout Work now.
Gavin Hickie, USA Rugby Collegiate All-Americans Forwards Coach, is a former Ireland A & 7s, Leinster and Leicester rugby player now U.S. Naval Academy Director of Rugby following 5 successful seasons as Head Coach at Dartmouth Rugby. He writes for RugbyToday.com and other publications when not coaching and blogging on lineoutcoach.com