Step 6 The Lineout Throw is next in the series “8 Steps That will make Your Lineout Function.”
I played Hooker professionally for 10 years and loved the technical challenge of throwing consistently under pressure. I can confirm that, composure, mental fortitude and technical skill, along with endless hours of practice are all required to perform the task of throwing.
Throwing is not a case of one-size fits all, each thrower has their own routine and technique but there are guidelines that if you adhere to, will improve your throwing. More importantly, your confidence will improve. Remember that there is no substitute for practice and to improve in a skill, takes time.
What are the types of lineout throw?
There are two basic types of throw:
- Flat throw – hard and direct
- Lob throw – softer throw with an arc to get over opposition jumper.
Both throws have the same mechanics to them. The main difference is the power of the throw and the timing of the release of the ball as Hooker Corey Flynn explains. “You try and keep it as similar as possible across all throws. It is just the position of release of the ball from your hands. When you throw a flat ball you throw hard and fast and release the ball later. When you throw a lob you release slightly earlier with less power in the throw.”
How do you build confidence in your lineout throwing?
I have a very specific hooker’s throwing checklist that I run through when I work with hookers. It builds up their confidence in their throwing, backed up by their physical ability to throw the full range of lineouts.
Coach Simon Hardy takes us through his coaching process with the hooker to build confidence in their ability while also improving their technique.
“I get players to watch what is good so they can create a picture in their head plus feel good technique. There is no point in them watching poor throws as the key is not to correct from mistakes but to keep going back to what is good. They only need to recognise they have made a mistake and then attempt to do the next throw correctly.
I use video analysis myself to see what faults they have particular reoccurring issues and look at how to eliminate them i.e. use of drills, see physio etc.
In practice I use consequence drills. It is very important to understand the players re maturity, feedback ratios, reaction to stress etc., so some of the below I do not use on everyone.
- Negative consequence drills e.g. as soon as you miss 2 throws (or whatever) we finish = means session finishes on a negative note.
- Positive consequence drills e.g. must hit 5 (or whatever) in a row to finish = means the session finishes on success.
- Passive consequence drills e.g. have 10 throws to finish (or whatever) may finish good or poorly
Also play games which create significant throws.”
How do you develop your lineout throwing technique?
There are a number of ways in which you can develop different aspects of your throwing technique. I have produced a series of exercise videos to help hookers develop their lineout throwing skills.
- Lineout Throwing Drills Part 1: Developing Core Strength
- Lineout Throwing Drills Part 2: Co-ordination, Timing and Throwing Under Pressure
How do you add spin on the ball?
For those looking to add spin to the ball, Skills Coach Mick Byrne suggests players have to work hard at the wrist and fingers creating spin but still heading towards the target. “On a throw or pass the hands are heading towards the target and the spin comes after the throw. The arms head towards the target and the spin comes out through the wrist and fingers. The fingers still need to come to the target. There is a subtlety there to work on.”
How do you get over a bad throw?
When things go wrong, and they inevitably will, Hooker Schalk Brits recommends looking at all the variables not just the throw. “There’s a lot of different ways of throwing but the other variables for me are definitely the opposition, your pods lifting, the lock’s jumping in the right space, then, getting that timing. Finally if the call is correct or not correct. When I look at the lineouts I’ve lost I look at all the variables and if it’s the throw – ball too high, throw too hard – then it’s my fault and it’s something I have to work on.”
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 Head Coach of Dartmouth Rugby. He writes for RugbyToday.com and other publications when not coaching and blogging on lineoutcoach.com