Sunday, April 6, 2014

HEYYYY YOUUUU GUYSSSS (Goonies reference).

AGH I'm getting closer and closer to changing my lifestyle in order to have rugby incorporated into it full time. Crossfit is also another full time addition into my life as well, so that will help me profusely to keep moving forward with my rugby career.

For now, though, I'm very lucky to be able to hike over to wherever these gals are playing and have a SPECTACULAR time:

This weekend we played in Washington, DC where I got to play three different positions in one game! This wonderful opportunity led me to gain some game experience in yet another brand new position for me:
It was SO-MUCH-FUN! Of course I was at least 85% disappointed with my performance in the position (but that number seems to be pretty stable wherever I'm playing, ha ha) but I'm so pleased with the chance I had to learn the game of rugby from a whole new view. On that note...SHOUT OUT TO ALL MY FULLBACKS BECAUSE THIS POSITION IS REALLY FREAKIN' TOUGH. And that doesn't mean all the other positions are a breeze either, but WOW fullback really has some challenges thrown into it.
I was happy with the massive amounts of running involved, but it was definitely a strange feeling for me to be hanging back and watching the show. My forward instincts kept making me want to jump up and hit a ruck, but I had to sit with that keen awareness. Sometimes it even made me feel bad to be standing in the back while watching everyone else rumble and tumble through bangers and phases, but I learned pretty quickly that while you're "sitting" back there the gears in your brain are working PRETTY FAST. The amount of field awareness you need is incredible; practicing taking it all in is another great skill that playing fullback helped me develop.
One of my biggest roadblocks in playing fullback came in the times where the spotlight was completely on me to make a tackle or recover a kick. Many times when there was a breakaway that was fully dependent on me as to whether or not it became a tri, I would psych myself up to CRUSH that person....
 ................................................aaaand then end up like this:

One-on-one tackling in the open field is definitely NOT one of my strengths. This is probably a big mental thing as well, because when thinking on the difference between hitting people as a forward and at fullback they seem like two completely different things. While of course there are a lot of different exterior factors that affect making those tackles, THEY ARE BOTH STILL TACKLES. PERIOD. If I can make a tackle A-Okay as a forward then I should be able to translate that right over to fullback no problemo.
I think that when I'm in a forward position, I just completely lay myself out there full throttle because I know there are tons of other teammates around me ready to support if I miss the tackle. But at fullback you don't really have that luxury; I should still be completely laying myself out there for a tackle, but I get too caught up in attempting to time it correctly. I'm having difficulty maintaining speed when catching up/running towards someone about to get on a breakaway and then making the move to tackle them. Obviously if I take one step off then they're off to the races! A few times I was able to overcome this when I didn't think as much about it and just plunged right into the tackle. I would try to anticipate what the next step was that the person was about to take and then lunge in that direction. Many times this worked out, and then many other times this left me looking like a damn fool ha ha.
A couple of times I was left with an extreme overload on my own - myself against 3 or 4 other players. I looked like an idiot when I attempted to play a zone and cover all of them, but my coach for this team gave me great advice: no matter what, ALWAYS just go for the person with the ball. That sounds pretty obvious, but when you tackle the person with the ball in an offload the majority of the time it can still end up in a tri since 3 other wide open people are there to carry it on. But my coach made a great point about how if you just go all out for the person with the ball, you can:
a) potentially force a turnover via dropping the ball or making a bad pass
b) give at least a few more seconds for your teammates to catch up and stop the overload
and no matter what, you leave an impression on the other team that lets them know that there won't be any freebies in this game! Any little dent of hesitation or doubt you can leave in your opponent can be pretty detrimental.
ANOTHER great resource that my coach referred us to is an online course called RUGBY READY. I own practically every book, flick, you-name-it about rugby and I have NEVER heard about this course. You can create a FREE account in order to keep track of everything you do on the site, participate in FREE guidelines about everything and anything you may have a question about, and even get a FREE "certificate of awareness" when you complete it!

Are you seeing the pattern here?
Everything is FREE.
I guess that in MANY countries, you actually need to pay a fee in order to use this site...but luckily the U.S. hasn't caught onto that trend yet so USE IT WHILE YOU CAN. Gaining rugby intelligence is one of the EASIEST and most EFFECTIVE ways to improve your rugby game.