APES principles- Activity, Purpose, Enjoyment and Safety.
Activity 1 - Movement within the area to include ball skills. The size of the area depends on the number of players and how much pressure you want to put on their evasive skills. Be creative with the shape of the area.
Activity 2 - Stuck in the mud. Ensure the tag process is adhered to, A) Take the tag B) Hold it above your head C) Shout tag D) Hand the tag back.
Activity 3 - Tunnel Tig. Promote strong body positions, variations can include rolling the ball through the tunnel to release the tagged player or crawling through.
Activity 4 - Turtle Tig- Promoting low to high body positions.
Activity 5 - Animal Walks- T-Rex lunges / Crocodile walk / Frog jumps / Ostrich Run
Activity 6 - Rats and Rabbits- Reaction sprints.
*Coaches should continually emphasise grip strength on the ball and crab claw (active thumb and index finger). Also hammer the three evasive skills of sidestep, dodge and swerve. And incorporate other dynamic stretches in their warm-ups, reframe from using static stretches.
Activity 1 - Ball around back, figure of 8, throw up and clap and catch behind back (opportunities to make a competitive skills game). Start off low tempo and increase to higher intensity. Promote grip strength.
Activity 2 - Corner ball- e.g. 4 vs 4, 4 catchers with the ball who can take 3 steps and touch opposition players with the ball. Pass and movement game. Coaches can decide on playing numbers, size of area and any time implications.
Activity 3 - Hammer drop- Grip strength test.
Activity 4 - Passing round the circle. Promoting targets and follow through and twisting of the upper body. This can be achieved in pairs or larger groups and can be encompassed into competition between groups e.g. first team to get the ball around the circle or first to 15 passes. Skills can also be incorporated before a pass is made e.g. ball around the back.
Activity 1- Seesaw, a very simple exercise which demonstrates passing backwards off the ball. Coaching points are to keep square with knees and hips and rotate or twist the upper body. Early reach to create a target with the hands, transferring the ball across the body and following through with laser fingers. The seesaw action promotes the backwards pass.
Activity 2- Tag Bulldogs- Evasion based exercise promoting sidestep, dodging and swerving and scoring a try. Defenders connect with each other to form a defensive line, with coaches promoting the four stages of the tag. A) take the take B) Hold it above your head C) Shout tag loudly D) Return the tag. Once the tag is taken, that player then becomes a defender. Coaches can manage the space to make the exercise more difficult or easier.
Activity 3 - Sharks and Fishes- As above except the tagged players become rooted to the spot and cannot move but are able to tag.
Activity 4 - Chain Tag- Defenders connect with holding of hands and the chain must stay in-tact to tag players.
The dimensions of the pitch can be changed, as seen in the video, to create more or less space.
Activity 5 - Stadium Ball- 1 vs 1, 2 vs 1, 2 vs 2, 3 vs 2 etc... Can be practiced in this exercise with various starting positions for the attackers and defenders. Coaches should promote passes before and after the tag highlighting an offload is made after a tag/tackle situation. Coaches should also promote support lines of running and continuing movement by using the 3 step rule after the tag, this should stop static passing and continue the momentum from the tag tackle. The stadium ball area can be manipulated to create more or less space depending on the coaches focus area e.g. evasion.