Dropping the Ball More Ways than One: Core Competencies to Work On

feature3 - Dropping the Ball More Ways than One: Core Competencies to Work On

Rugby is a game that requires some core skills and competencies in order to effectively be done. Join us as we discuss what these core skills and competencies are. Rugby has survived this long due to the fact that it constantly evolves and improves itself.

What are “core skills”?

These refer to the techniques and actions that deemed completely vital to the sport. It may not seem like much but it is important to the overall application of the game. These go beyond the physical attributes that seem to dominate the priority of many athletes.

Core skills are things that you learn through hands-on experience and consistent practice. Here are some of them:

Ball handling

This is arguably the most basic thing about rugby. Players need to suitably be able to pick up the ball and hold it appropriately without dropping it. For rugby players, being able to securely handle the ball is if of paramount importance.

Player needs to make certain that they know of the different techniques on how to secure the ball in their grasp and in their arms. Confidence is actually a pretty big factor when it comes to handling the ball efficiently. If you do not have faith that you are handling the ball as you actually should, you can fully expect it to leave your grasp in the next 10 seconds.

Being able to look confident—effectively conveying that through body language—is a great way to seem like you are a super tough player and the opposition really should not get in your way when you are running toward their goal. Being confident will also help the success rate of your passes.

Ball Control

Yes, this is quite separate from ball handling. Handling refers to how you hold it. Ball control is all about keeping the ball in your area of effect. The team that manages to control the ball more than others is more likely to score goals and keep opponents away.

Being able to control the ball also brings quite a big boost to the player’s confidence and capability. Ball control refers to all the different movements that will keep the ball in your sphere of influence. Players need to be able to run with that ball in hand, pass it to their teammates, and even receive it back once they have lost enemy heat. It is one of the fastest ways to get your team more points.

Ball control can also refer to being able to spot the potential moves of the enemy team. Spot the signs for possible moves or strategies. When you fight against a team that you have fought before, it is critical that you have studied up on the techniques and strategies they use in order to spot the “tells” right away.


Yes, this is actually a core competency. Every rugby player in a team must be a leader in their own right. There is no room for timidity or blind followers. Every player must be able to develop decisions without waiting on anyone else.

Leaders make tough decisions at times. That is important that they be able to persevere. Perseverance can be improved through constant practice. Developing pass or fail safety measures for decisions can help streamline the process.

In order for a team to be successful, the role of the leader must be able to shift depending on the situation that they face in the field. If you have a team that is comprised of one leader and followers, you can come to expect some misplays simply because they were waiting for their leader to signal them.

Balance in movement and non-movement

Coordination plays a big part in rugby. Coordination is reliant on balance. While we would love to say that balance is innate—it is something that may need some extra work for others. It is a core competency that must be improved.

If a player has poor balance, you can wholly expect them to fumble a lot of the time. When the clock is ticking, a fumble can make all the difference between a goal for your team and a goal for your enemy team.

Balance truly comes out to shine when two teams are seemingly toe to toe. The teams with more well-balanced players are able to make better plays which result in more goals and trys. It would be important to refer to your coach for balance exercises. There are far too many players out there that just believe that if they can handle the ball well then they are completely good.

This is simply not the case. Balance in non-movement is important for those who guard the goal. There are times that you may need to stand your ground in order to stop the runner from reaching your goal. If you do not have suitable non-movement balance, you can fully expect to get knocked off your feet and have a point taken from you from your trouble.

In Conclusion

This is why it is necessary to ask for help when you need it. If you play the game, it is important for you to realize early on that this is a game that you cannot win by yourself. It takes a whole team in order to obtain a victory and it takes a whole community to help players form their teams.

If you think that there are some core skills and competencies that are missing from this list let us know. We would like to keep this discussion as comprehensive as possible. Rugby players all over the world must be willing to help each other out. We may be in different parts of the world and we may even be supporting different teams but we are all lovers of the same sport. In essence, we all need each other to survive.

With this in mind, it would be important to look back upon the core competencies listed above. What core competency do you need really to work upon?

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