Friday, September 26, 2014


Still cannot believe it, but I am going to be heading off to TOBAGO in December for some competitive sevens rugby!!!

I'm even more pumped because I know that this time around, when I enter the high competition rugby realm I'll be WAY more prepared than I was when I had the opportunity to go to Vegas. Every single day that I am able to go to practice or play in a game, I'm a better player than I was the day before.

Experience and exposure = Improvement. No matter what. Even if you're just on the sidelines during a game.

From the life situation I was in last year, my training and rugby experience was EXTREMELY limited. When I played in the Vegas sevens tournament in early January, the last time I had played rugby was in OCTOBER....and that was a sporadic, spur-of-the-moment, borrow-this-person's-cleats-and-that-person's-shorts tournament.
It was devastating to come to the realization in early spring that even though I was still 100% putting in everything I could possibly spare into rugby, it wasn't enough. Not even close. This realization is partially what made me move home and [temporarily] leave the social work realm. 

NOW, I am so blessed to be an active member of a welcoming and hard working rugby team here in my hometown. I'm learning new things every single day and meeting amazing people in the process. There's no way in hell I would be going to Tobago without everything I have learned with this team and the dedication/structure that has come along with it. 
With that being said: I should also give a major shout out to the crossfit box I am a part of, The Swamp. Another incredibly accepting and motivating group of individuals. Again, without the records of weight training and speed workouts from them I wouldn't be where I am today.



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Monday, September 15, 2014


Where to BEGIN?!
I forgot my freakin' rugby journal (yes, "the rugby diaries" is actually a tangible item as well as a blog!) yesterday at practice so I didn't get a chance to jot down everything I wanted to recap like I normally do. However, I think I still have retained the gist.
....but no promises.

We started off with a fun rugby game in order to get into the mindset of defending...
SIDE NOTE: I need to be reminded to keep special track of these games because they are not only very helpful drills for rugby teams, they are also great fun ways to promote rugby awareness to younger populations - like all the way down to the elementary age. I wish I had more of these games in my back pocket when I worked with high school aged boys in Chicago because it gets rid of people's initial fear of the contact and aggression involved with rugby but still teaches a lot of important skills.
This subject was on my mind a lot yesterday when a rugger told me that I could promote rugby to little girls because one in a grocery store recently thought I was Elsa....if Elsa plays rugby, little girls all over the world can too!

BOOM. This is gonna be a thing.

Anyways, we played a fun game that involved defending a small triangle made from cones. Basically, the triangle was a try zone that an attacking team would attempt to touch the ball down in. The attacking team would set up wide around the area of the triangle and the defenders would start in the triangle itself. The defenders could throw/kick off the ball anywhere they wanted to, but they were not allowed to move out of the triangle and start defending until the attacking team picked up the ball and started playing. The attacking team could pass the ball any way they wanted to (forwards or backwards), but once they were tagged by the defense they were not allowed to move. After being tagged 3 times, the attacking and defending teams would switch roles (defenders would become attackers, etc.).
This game helped practice a variety of defending techniques, each having it's own benefits and costs. It helps practice not getting sucked in by an attacker and making sure to cover all space and gaps when playing defense. So much communication is involved. Matching up one-on-one sometimes worked but also sometimes backfired. If you match up on defense but don't stay flat/together then you leave a lot of spaces for people to cut through. There needs to be a balance of both.

In order to prepare for our game this upcoming Saturday, we put a lot of focus into setting up a defense tight off of a ruck and heavily dependent on forwards play. This is almost ironic for me to write because I feel like I just recently discussed why we were too dependent on that in our last game, which left the wing/outside wide open. However, different teams have different strengths that they utilize and many times you need to cater your tactics (especially on defense) to combat theirs.

'Tis a strategy, if you may. (SIDE NOTE: like cats and rugby? Check out my tumblr -  Rugby as Told by Cats!)
And whilst practicing crashes/bangers off of rucks and ensuring that the space tight off of a ruck is covered, we didn't fail to neglect the outside. We practiced both - heavily guarding the rucks and still covering the backs on the outside.

But the main thing we needed to take away from practicing our defensive structure is just how important setting up posts really is. If you've never heard this term before, posts are almost a very literal translation from what it is as an inanimate object to what it is as a person. When a ruck occurs, the first two defenders that reach it (after, of course, there are already people rucking) immediately set up tight off the last foot of the ruck and loudly communicate the position to the rest of their teammates. They become not only markers for where the rest of the defensive line needs to set up but they are also pillars standing in the way of a quick pick and go attempt. Many teams, especially ones with a strong forwards game, will utilize that space right off of a ruck because it can unknowingly be left open and an easy gap to sneak through.
Another important matter regarding the posts is that once two people designate themselves as the defensive posts off of a ruck, they should not move from that position. This can be more difficult than it sounds because it's instinctual on defense to immediately press forward. But when the posts set up off of a ruck, it's their responsibility to communicate to the rest of the team when they should be holding (so they're not offsides) and when the ball is out of a ruck. They should continue to stand in this post position to completely ensure it's protected.
The players after the post are in positions called X and Y. So the defensive set up off of a ruck should look like this:
These two positions should also be designated in case shifting needs to occur. X and Y positions ensure that this space will always be covered, however it also makes shifting easier for all the other defenders. Instead of running around to the end of the defensive line to even out spacing and coverage, players can enter right outside the Y position and communicate to their teammates to bump out.

This may sound like a lot to handle in the midst of a chaotic field and while also thinking heavily about tackling the bitch runnin full steam at you, but calm yourself. It will come.

You may look like a shitshow over and over again at practice trying to figure this out, but once you're on the field, it will be crazy how this is all of the sudden second nature to you. It may even take a few games as well...or a few seasons....but just fucking PRACTICE THIS SHIT and eventually you'll be preaching it on the field.
**which is another really important reason why you need to actually GO to practice in the first place. It's basically an even safer space to fuck up in.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

[side note]

Currently in an avoidance of real life I am updating as many posts as I can so they have "tags" on them that make them easier for people to refer to and look back on. So, for example, if you're looking for a post about decision making then when you search that tag you'll find all the posts about that subject!

Hope it helps!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tough love.

Tonight at practice began the official reconstruction after being beat down from a loss. We already brought each other's spirits up through positivity and seeing improvement in our mistakes, but now it's time for business or else we ain't goin' nowhere.
Where would Carol be today without that wake up call?!

Many a time I have discussed how important it is for rugby players to be okay with making mistakes, but with that means you also need to be okay with hearing constructive criticism. Clearly you can't fuck up and then continuously keep telling yourself you did a good job or else you're just going to keep on fucking up! You can be strengths based with yourself but also accept that fact that you need to improve and keep working hard towards change. FOR THE MILLIONTH TIME: no one's perfect.

Going into this week after our last game, my goal in my head was clear: FITNESS.
I'm glad that as a team we did some fitness together, although I'm looking at it through an appreciative lens. I'm extremely lucky that we did fitness at practice, it's always an added bonus.

.........many of you are probably saying this right now:

Wanna know why?
Because you're lucky that it's a scheduled activity you have to do and are surrounded by your teammates and coaches motivating you.....otherwise, YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN.
I think we can all attest to the fact that it is WAY harder to motivate yourself do undertake fitness alone rather than with positive influences around you. And every player should be accountable for their own fitness simply because it is an activity you can do anytime, anywhere. Fitness really is an individualistic activity and it's really no one else's responsibility but YOURS to be physically prepared for rugby.

I've been trying to put in a lot of my own effort into fitness, but at the same time the first game of the year is always tough. No matter how many runs you go on or how many weights you lift, there's really no fully preparing for the first game of the season. The only way to do it is run with a 50lb weight on your back and have someone follow you that's beating you with a stick. Good luck!
But it's also extremely important to recognize that no matter what, YOU WILL BE SORE AND TIRED AND HURTING AFTER YOUR FIRST GAME. Recognize the difference between pain and soreness. Make sure you can tell what is a sharp pain vs. an ache. If you can categorize something as a sharp pain, pull in the reigns and sit out a few plays. If you can categorize something as an ache, PUSH THROUGH IT or the stiffness will only get worse.

Anyways, to start off practice we did a great conditioning drill that involves jogging, sprinting, and burpees for a significant period of time. That's probably as close to the fitness of a rugby game as you'll get. We jogged laps around the field until we heard one whistle blow, which signaled dropping to the ground, getting back up as quick as possible, and continuing jogging or two whistle blows, which signaled a sprint until we heard the one whistle again. Needless to say: it was a BITCH. But when it's a bitch, that's when you know you're improving. No matter what place you're in or how many people seem to be passing you in the laps, everyone is out of breath and working at their own self improvement. There's no one person putting in more effort than the other - it's hard for us all.

We then went back to the building blocks of defense. We started out with some touch scrimmages to get into the groove of matching up and keeping space while defending. In our game on Saturday, we continuously ran into some issues with focusing too much on staying tight off the rucks and then leaving the outside wiiiiiiide open.
This also came with a focus on not having multiple players get sucked into a tackle. CLEARLY if your teammate is struggling to make a tackle/looks like it'll be broken through then by all means help a bitch out and stop standing and watching. But other than that, when attacking teams hit the gaps of course it's tough to keep space and prevent another gap from opening where you should've been standing in the first place.
There was a moment in our scrimmage when a pretty decent switch was made on the attacking team. This caused some confusion on the defensive side because in a switch, multiple attacking players enter one lane and then cross a whole bunch of other lanes (remember the benefits of the 45 degree angle? This is where it comes in handy yet also fucks over the defense). The defensive player matched up with the switcher cannot cover this person anymore or else they would have to run through the ball carrier, tackler, and then across a bunch of other defenders. Makes no sense!

It's extremely important to make the distinction between matching up with a player and with a lane. Yes, call out a person that you are matching up against, but when "pigtails" loops wide or runs a switch, this is where shifting is extremely important. On a switch, then it has to be a quick decision and communication for someone else to pick up that player and have all the other defenders shift to what attacking options are still present. For a loop, the minute you see your person loop around to the end of an attacking line start yelling your ass off for a shift to the left or right.

We also did a lot of tackling practice, and something that I missed from college: we called it THE GAUNTLET! This is one-on-one tackling in a narrow tunnel. Yes it's intimidating and many times even humiliating, but these are definitely some of the hardest tackles to make. If you can master the hardest, then the rest will come. AGAIN, this is a blessing in disguise because with all eyes on you, then you have all the help and support you could possibly want on your side. Your coach and teammates aren't going to be able to watch closely every time you fuck up and miss a tackle, but in the gauntlet you're able to have where you need improvement identified right on the spot.
....are you catching a trend here? Avoidance is a bitch. Rugby karma is real.
And in the end, we're all pals here. We all want to see each other succeed. Always remember that criticism is coming from a caring, supportive, and positive place. Not everyone is a Communications major (such as, *cough cough* yours truly was) or even a social while it may come out like bitchassness in the end it's just someone trying to help you. Don't ever forget that! Put your ego aside and take some advice from someone else - we can all use input that will help us improve. Of course positive reinforcement is important and helpful, but this "tough love" is what will really make you go anywhere in the end.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Post Game Progression

Methinks that these next few posts (including the two before this) are gonna get a little preachy/sports psychology-esque, but let's roll with it.
...or ruck over it, if you will.
We lost our first game of the season yesterday but the framing and the attitude drawn from it is what's really going to carry us far. I think that the way the team played was an exact indication of the benefits that can result from having a hard working team all around - related to the previous post, this team is so lucky to have a hard working yet accepting culture. We don't have any of those slacker starters or veterans that feel immunity or priority over other players. Everyone clearly works hard together and is on the same page.
It was a great combination to see starters/veterans setting the bar high then having rookies filter in and meet that standard. Who knows how different it would've gone if there was a "fuck it" vibe amongst the veterans, or in the other extreme if there was an overly critical vibe. Mistakes were embraced and tackled head on, one by one. This is so important because many rugby teams can get so caught up in their spirit of the game that they actually lose sight of what's really the goal.

Which segways right into the main theme of this post.....GOAL SETTING!

On individual and team levels, goal setting is so incredibly important.
NOTE: In this post, and many following this one, I am drawing directly from a book called Focused for Rugby: A proven approach for peak performance by Adam R. Nicholls and Jon Callard. It's a pretty easy read to order online and I highly recommend it! If you're interested in learning more about a certain topic that I discuss from this book let me know and I will make you a copy of the chapter :)

There is such a variety of goals that you can set for yourself and your team that it's insane, sometimes overwhelming. Especially if you're a new player or a new team, it can be daunting to figure out what to do in terms of goal setting because it seems like EVERYTHING needs improvement.
But narrowing down on a time frame and content will help you go further. It's as if you're about to clean the White House after someone threw a Fourth of July rager - you'll get it done faster and more effectively if you clean one room at a time rather than trying to sweep over every single space.
...............what the hell was that analogy?

Work with meh here.

In my social work realm, we always used the acronym SMART to remember all the important aspects of setting a goal. However, in this book they take it a step further and make SMARTER goals. Here's how:

Specific - no vague shit. "I will do my best" is not a goal, that should be a given. Making better tackles is a common rugby goal, however it may also be beneficial to take that a little further, such as "I will drive through my tackles." The more specifics the better, especially because if you start with an extremely specific goal it shouldn't take long to accomplish it and move on to the next one.

Measurable - for all the peeps into numerical data and logic, this will work well for you. Keeping numbers on your goals is one of the most concrete ways to see your own progress. Timing your mile each week or keeping track of your weight selections when lifting are a few ways you can continue to move forward yet also look back on your data and congratulate yourself. Even aiming to drop one less pass in game can be beneficial.

Action oriented - THIS IS IMPORTANT. Now that you have started the works of creating a goal, HOW THE FUCK ARE YOU GOING TO ACHIEVE IT? Hypothesize your goals all day but in the end if you can't figure out how reach it, then that's all they are - goals. La dee freakin' da.

Realistic - Find the balance between realistic yet also challenging. Breaking through every single tackle on attack is not realistic. You cannot aim for perfection because NOBODY'S PERFECT! Know where you're at and set the bar from there.

- Set a deadline. Short, medium, and long-term goals all have their own benefits but they're also drastically different. It's important to utilize all three types of timed goals because where one is beneficial, it is also lacking in something else. Long term goals are great because it's a lot of time for you to keep tabs on yourself and measure your progress, however they can also get lost and forgotten very easily. Short term goals are great because you will have quick results however certain things just take longer to develop.

Elastic - Give yourself some flexibility. Similar to the realistic aspect of goal setting, cut yourself some slack. Don't expect to be an All Black overnight. Even in the measuring of your goals, you can add a range rather than aiming for a specific number. "I will make 5 or more tackles in my next game" is better than aiming to make 8 tackles.

Repeatability - This is an interesting one. After you have achieved a goal, don't throw it out the fucking window. Keep it in your back pocket. I think that as a team we have struggled with this at practices, because we will achieve a goal of learning a new skill yet completely forget about it moments later when we have moved on to something else. Your goals are useless if you don't make them permanent factors in your playing. Similar to attack in rugby, the purpose of goals is to be continuously moving forward and making progress.

There are also two types of goal setting styles: performance oriented and success oriented. When setting performance goals, they're usually geared towards self improvement however they can also be used for team purposes. The primary focus is improvement as players. Success goals involve more comparison and competition, usually can involve benchmarking via social comparison.


Success oriented goals leave a lot of room for fluctuation because they depend too much on exterior factors. Of course it's okay to want to win and succeed as a player and/or team, but looking internally rather than externally will get you there more effectively. Focus on your own shit. We sometimes get too caught up in measuring our own success based off of where everyone else is. Either we're too hard on ourselves because everyone seems to be playing at a higher level or we're too lazy/easy on ourselves because everyone's playing at a lower level. Especially if you struggle with confidence and believing in yourself (*hand shoots up in the air*) comparisons to others can be extremely self destructive.

Personal life example:
at crossfit a few weeks ago, we did a mile run after a workout. I benchmarked my progress off of how far ahead someone else was from me and immediately started getting down on myself because I thought they got too far ahead. However, in the end when I heard the time I ran a mile in, it was one of the fastest times I've ever had. If I had never found out that time, I would've continued going on under the impression that I had failed and made no progress simply because I wasn't as fast as someone else. But in reality, that was a huge accomplishment!

It's also not a bad thing to want to increase your own playing time or even work towards getting into a starting line up, both things that are natural and acceptable goals. But it gets hurtful when you begin comparing yourself to other teammates, and start working towards "beating them" for the position. THAT is a selfish way to reach your goal and can actually set you back in other areas. If you want to work towards starting in a game or even playing A-side at all, just focus more on what you can do to improve as a player and CALL IT A DAY.

Here's a great table listing questions about your goals and giving you space to physically write out the answers. Sounds childish, but keeps it clear cut and concrete (I know the image cuts off, but if you click on it then you can save this table and even print it for your own use!):

The way I see it - what harm can be done? Clearly if you are looking to progress and improve, there are resources out there for you. So give it a shot! What do you have to lose?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Playtime pouting.

I've listened in on some discussions recently revolving around the never ending battle of who should play in a rugby game - more specifically, who should play based on skill level vs. who should play that earned it. Players and coaches have handled this topic in such a variety of ways and every team is so drastically different from one another that there really is no set answer.
Many of us have seen that naturally talented player come to practices hungover or not at all and then start over players that work their tails off but just can't seem to get the hang of it all yet. It happens all the time, and in writing it's almost a no brainer that this sounds wrong...however when you're put in that situation on the field where you need a reliable, solid figure in a specific position then many times people will go with what they know will perform. It's comforting, makes them feel more confident.
HOWEVER, does that make it right? No, not really. Does that mean the underdog hard worker should always start? No, not necessarily.
But I will say this: I 100% full heartedly believe that rugby is karmic - you get what you give. Although the results aren't immediate, and in many cases it may take a long-ass-time to see any of the results, it's there. That hungover no-show talented player? EVENTUALLY, they will fall. That sounds so negative, but being so careless about your teammates and your performance can only go on for so long without hurting you...or in the end potentially destroying your rugby career.
On the other hand, that underdog hardworking-but-mediocre player? Is going to go SO-FREAKIN-FAR. It's not only because they can handle rejection, pressure, and anything else thrown at them since they've already seen it...but all the time in even sometimes the most subtle ways, they are improving. CONSTANTLY. While one day it may be they only dropped 6 passes instead of 7 or they even figured out where to stand in a defensive line, eventually it's going to pay off. May need to be an extremely long term investment, like maybe even years....but IT'S GOING TO PAY OFF. I JUST KNOW IT.
The lazy player may not ever experience the drastic reality of ruining their rugby career, but they will eventually be surpassed. Their talent does not solidify their playing time, at least not forever and ever, because there will come a day where that underdog will be able to carry their own weight and will be considered over that talented player. Even if they aren't the showstopper the talented player is, they will still play.....someday. And it will be GLORIOUS and things will only continue to get better for that mediocre hard worker.
But not only will that mediocre hard worker personally succeed, they will take the team to places they couldn't have dreamed of. They will inspire everyone else to work hard, and follow a good example. They will be a listening and empathetic ear when other mediocre players experience the pains of not starting or not playing at all. They will help everyone through these times, get them back on the saddle, and guide them through the same grueling process they once had to go through. THEY are the true victors and who lift the team up because of the immense amount of resilience they have built.

(I know that many of my peeps are going to get a kick out of me doing a Khaleesi rant right now, but this shit's real!) Take this unbelievable underdog character who couldn't have gone any more from zero-to-hero. While there's literally zero athleticism involved in this underdog story, the process is still the same. For a very long period of time no one considered her a threat or of any type of potential. She was repeatedly told she was worthless and incapable of accomplishing anything, while so many other people around her took for granted what they had. Through self confidence, hard work, and relationship building, she was able to overcome these motherfuckers (excuse my language, I'm getting a bit amped now) one by one and start a revolution. She utilized her own strengths and self confidence while also relying and trusting her companions (teammates, if you will...) to go so far. She empathized with slaves because she was in a way once a slave herself, and she was able to encourage others to liberate themselves.
This is also apparent in the movie Gladiator, which I ritually watch before every single game, but that needs another entire post of its own. 

The reason why I am feeling so passionate about this is because I have experienced it myself. Just for kicks, I looked back on the ye olde entries of this blog and found this one from about 5 years ago....when I was a sophomore in college:
October 5th, 2009: No one knows how hard coaching really is until they experience it for themselves. I KNOW that my rugby coach subs people in accordingly. Last year, I went through the pains of being disappointed when not playing. I probably went through the worst of it out of anyone. I worked my ass off, more than anyone on the team if not everyone on the team combined, for games that I wouldn't even get to dress for. And one of those games was the one game that my family drove 10 hours to see, meaning they drove ten hours to see me not start, not sub in, and not play period. It can't really get any worse than that, and I'll never forget how hard I worked and how much effort I put in. I was shut down many many times, thrown aside and not played for long periods of time. I didn't just get my starting spot out of thin air or because I'm a favorite or anything like that, I worked hard to get to where I am. And I fully believe that if you REALLY, TRULY want something then if you work hard enough for it you'll get it. You just can't take no for an answer. If you don't start in a game, then you think, "Okay fine, I'll work SO hard this next week that I'll definitely start," and you continue saying that until the rewards finally come. Who knows when that time is, but I believe if you really keep at it then you will be rewarded sooner or later. 
...DAYUM. I completely forgot that my family had driven so far to see me stand on the sidelines, and after I had made every practice and done runs and sprints before and after each practice. I remember working and working and working and working and working some more to receive NOTHING. And it was truly devastating. But I also remember thinking that there's always more I could do, and the only way to ensure I'd have a chance at starting the next game was through working hard and attending practices. And it really really did pay off. I'm no superstar or anything now, but I've made a lot of strides from that time and still continue to progress today by never taking any playtime for granted and for always giving 110%.

I'd like to give a quick shout out to my first rugby coach ever when I started playing in college, who gave me this mentality and reinforced these beliefs in me. If not for her and when she gave me a long awaited chance at playing A-side, then who knows where my faith would be or my perspective on this topic. 


Let's all just get out our nerves real quick:

Okay! No more heebie jeebies.
When we were preparing at practice for our first game tomorrow, that's what we all acted like while playing.....which is ridiculous because we were doing pretty much exactly what we have been doing at practice for at least the past month!
Nerves can REALLY turn your rugby world upside down. It can be a realllll rugby buzz kill if you let them take over. But sometimes it may seem so freakin' hard to control them - even just sitting here typing this I've got sparks running through me and my heart is pumping like the commuter rail because I'm so excited for the game tomorrow!
....and THAT'S OKAY. 
It's NORMAL to be nervous on a rugby field, because there's so much going on around you and there's no other time where you have to make that much decision making that quickly unless you happen to be performing heart surgery. So now that you can give yourself a soothing pat on the back for realizing you're normal for being nervous, the real question is:
HOW DO YOU CONTROL IT?How do you slow yourself down in the midst of a high pressure/tempo environment? I believe that all of the best players you see on tv or even on your own respectable team have figured out some sort of technique in their own way to handle this above anything else. Above learning how to pass, tackle, ruck, kick, tie their cleats, breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide....I think great rugby players have learned how to literally "keep calm and carry on" in the middle of chaos. They have learned how to sit with being nervous and cultivate it into an advantage.
SELF TALK PEOPLE....IT WORKS WONDERS. IT'S NOT JUST A COUNSELING TECHNIQUE. The more you immerse yourself in this chaotic environment the more comfortable you will become in it. So if you are a new player - PATIENCE, grasshopper. Just drink it in while you're on the field and learn via experience. YES - YOU'RE GOING TO FUCK UP. But we all are going to fuck up, that's part of the game.

If you've been playing for a while and still find yourself nervous before a game or even when you're about to step onto the field: draw on previous experiences. Try your best to think rationally - what about the last game you played in made you really nervous? What could've gone differently for you to react better? What will you do this time when you encounter THE SAME SITUATION (your rugby fears ain't goin' nowhere! so conquer them meow!!) in this game?! What can you sincerely be proud of yourself for and what have you done really well to contribute to the team's success in the past?
...that last one is a biggie - you need to ALWAYS remember that you are capable of wondrous things. You may remember a lot of things you have done wrong or can still do better, but there is always SOMETHING that you have done right.....even if it's just showing up to practice or cheering on a teammate. Every-little-thing-counts.
And forget about whatever trust issues you may have in your life - whether it's in a relationship with a person or with what's in your Wonder Ball - because in the end no matter what your teammates are there to support you and you're all working towards the same common goal. There may even be some players that you don't like, or some players that seem like a showboat that want to always be in the spotlight, but in the end NO ONE GETS ANYWHERE WITHOUT WORKING WITH THE REST OF THE TEAM.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Laying the egg

SO, funny story involved with this tactic. We spent some time a few practices ago learning about a ball positioning called "laying the egg"
...which literally derives its name from your ability to squeeze out the rugby ball between your legs.

Definitely takes a little practicing to get used to it (then again...what doesn't take practice to get used to it?), but as you're running with the ball and taken into contact by a defender, you need to start propelling your weight and theirs forward to prepare yourself to "lay the egg."
Land with your body on top of the ball (NOTE: this will take some practice but BE CAREFUL in the meantime. I have done this accidentally and it hurts like a beyotch if you hit your rib cage/lungs wrong....wind knocked out of you for dayzz.). Push the ball backwards towards your team by having it come out through your legs. This is an important technique because it eliminates poaching by the other team. It also helps you become more conscious of pushing the ball straight back to your team rather than flopping around and making it become a hot mess. The scrumhalves of the world will also thank you for giving them one less thing to think about when going for the ball to pass out somewhere before there's a chance of them being bulldozered.
Many people may get nervous that throughout this time they could be called for "not rolling away" by the referee, but with the amount of movement/"effort" you'll be making to get the ball out it shouldn't be a problem. There's also a plethora of the other things the referee is concerned about at the same time. Just make sure the ball is on the ground/you're not carrying it anymore and it is moving towards your teammates. Clearly you can't just sit there and make your body into a bungalow for the ball.
Whilst it sounds ridiculous and even awkward, my coach made a good point in shutting down both of these concerns: when is rugby NOT ridiculous and awkward?? "Half the time for the forwards your head is up someone's ass..." HAH!

Funny part: I attempted to find a picture of this tactic/do some more research, and when I googled "laying the egg rugby" THIS is what showed up:
What's even more hilarious is I actually just read about the history of this cartoon, which is from 1961.
It was created after the 3rd test match that went down between New Zealand and France. It's also the album cover for when the rugby game was recorded on vinyl record!
In this game, New Zealand beat France's hard to ever think of a time when New Zealand wasn't the favorite in rugby, but at this time period apparently France was considered the strongest European team. So the "egg" (which they clearly also made look like a rugby ball) is a little spitfire at France: "Top grade reputation - second grade performance" as in they didn't live up to everyone's standards (CLEARLY, 32-3 is an embarrassing loss for a favored team). THAT'S AWESOME.
Another fact about this cartoon: the All Blacks bird is actually a Kiwi, not a rooster. Kiwis are native to New Zealand and apparently many people who are native to Kiwi, New Zealand have called themselves Kiwis.

ANOTHER random fact I just found out through this hunger for knowledge is that this Marvel character, Kiwi Black, got his name based off the location of Kiwi and the All Blacks themselves!

So much respect.

NOTE: I found out all this interesting knowledge about the cartoon from this cool website:! Us rugby bloggers have to stick together.