What to do when your attack grinds to a halt

We have all witnessed those moments in a match when the offensive team is going absolutely no where. They are exhausted. One player after another tries to do something on his own. The defense just smothers them. Their team mates aren’t reading their runs. The 9 & 10 go deer in the head lights. The wheels have come off. No one knows how to get them going again. Someone finally ends the suffering… & just boots the ball down field.

The main dynamic going wrong here is communication, what a lot of people would call “leadership.”

Communication is crucial on attack.

Simplified, it comes to this “Tell people what you are going to do, so they know how to help you.”

Good & clear communication is built upon well drilled moves and phase play patterns.

If we have drilled a play where the 9 passes to the 9-ball forward & then runs a loop around him to get the ball back, we now have a “play” that the team knows what is going to happen next & where they should be to capitalize on this “move.”

We then give this move a name: “sexton,” so that when someone shouts this, everyone immediately knows what is going to happen next.
We then develop this a bit & add options to the move.
Option A, the 9 gets the ball back & passes it wide to the 10.
Option B the 9 gets dummied & the blindside wing gets an inside ball.
Option C the forward shows the pass & then goes himself.

If you drill each move’s options well, you can either pre-meditate which option you are going to do, or leave it up to the players to read what is in front of them as the move plays out.

Our team has 5 attacking “patterns” that we drill over & over to the point where I’m sure the lads are able to do it while texting.
This enables the 9, 10, & 12 (our playmakers) to call a pattern, or preferably a sequence of patterns, which the team then plays to.
They know where they have to be, what options they need to run, & where the next ruck needs to be cleaned.

When they get stuck, they can now decide on a move or pattern for that situation to try get momentum/linebreak going again.

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