PE coursework Chosen Sport Rugby -working on my weaknesses as a fullback

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PE coursework

Chosen Sport Rugby

Defensive Weakness 1: Frontal Tackles

Tackles made front on, when a player is running at me, is a defensive weakness of mine because when performing the tackle I am either unsuccessful or make the tackle using the incorrect technique.


My technique is incorrect as I do not drive the opposing player backwards during the tackle, allowing them to make it over the game line, meaning they make ground and they can set the ball backwards for their team making it difficult for my team to get turnover ball. The reason I do not drive the opposing player backwards is due to me not hitting into the tackle with an ‘explosive’ spring off the balls of my feet from low to high (crouched to straightened legs). By not doing this I make it much easier for the opposing player to use their momentum to carry themselves forward and make some ground in the tackle. Another reason for my frontal tackles being either unsuccessful or performed with the incorrect technique is that when a player is running at me, about to take contact, they sometimes try to use some form of deception in an attempt to beat me in the tackle. Players with a high skill level are able to use very convincing forms of deception, either through a side-step or through a sudden change of pace and direction. If the deception is convincing enough I often fall for it which gives the attacking player an advantage over me meaning that I either miss the tackle or don’t make the tackle with the correct technique because I have been left off balance from the outcome of their trickery.

        Jamie Noon’s tackle (shown below), is a perfect example of how a frontal tackle should be performed with the correct technique.

As the opposing player come in to make contact Noon prepares to make the tackle and watches the ball carrier carefully to ensure that he isn’t fooled by a side-step or a sudden change of pace. He then gets into the tackling position; keeping his back straight and his head to the side of the ball carriers body. When executing the tackle he shrugs his shoulders on contact and simultaneously drives his shoulders upwards into the lower ribs, at the same time he wraps his arms around the ball carrier’s thighs and hold tight. From this position it is possible for Noon to either drive the player backwards or turn him sideways in the tackle, depending on which will gain his team the greatest advantage.

The theoretical reasoning for my weakness in performing frontal tackles is the theory of single-channel hypothesis. This suggests that there is a delay caused by an increased process time this is suggested to be the result of a ‘hold-up’ within the response programming stage, this is also known as the ‘bottleneck effect’. Within this stage it is suggested that the brain can only process the initiation of one action or response when presented with two closely following stimuli. This creates a psychological refractory period (PRP) - the delay between being able to respond to the second of two closely spaced stimuli. The next stage is the response selection stage and in this stage, when faced with two closely followed stimuli, my ability to select the correct stimuli is hindered, as I am unable to select the correct response in ample time for the tackle I need to make. The final stage of the single channel hypothesis is the start of the response movement or action which is again affected when faced with two closely followed stimuli because it takes longer for the correct movement/action to be carried out. This affects my ability to perform a frontal tackle because when an opposing player uses an effective side-step, creating a primary stimulus, it takes me too long to readjust my body position for the secondary stimulus of where they are actually going to go. This theory is relative to the concept of attention which Gould and Weinberg (2003) described as “focusing on relative cues in the environment, maintain that attention focus over time, having awareness of the situation, and shifting attention focus when necessary.” Attention is undoubtedly limited and thus must be directed to what is relative for specific situations. In my case I need to focus my attention on the relative cues and not be fooled by deceptive methods used by the opposition in the form of dummy passes, dummy kicks and sidesteps. Instead I must focus my attention on picking out the correct stimuli.

To correct this fault in my ability to perform frontal tackles I must work on my selective attention so that I can successfully pick out the correct cues put before me by my opponents when they are running at me in a game situation. Anticipation is affected by many aspects some which I can do nothing about such as, age, gender, the predictability of a stimuli and the intensity of the stimuli. However, age and gender work in my favour as I am prime age for reaction time and males are perceived to have slightly shorter reaction times than women. Saying this there other factors which I do have control over and can do something about to improve my anticipation, these include previous experience/practise, arousal and fatigue. It is obvious that increased practise will improve my decision making as I will have been in similar situations before and will be able to pick out the correct response for certain stimuli, thus making my reaction time faster. Fatigue is an issue as when I become more tired my level of concentration will deteriorate, as a result I may not detect relevant cues and my reaction time will decrease. Therefore, for the position of fullback, it is important that I work on my in game fitness by increasing my cardiovascular endurance and my muscular endurance; I can do this through circuit training, fartlek training, weight training, continuous training and short and long interval training. Equally, under or over arousal will undoubtedly increase my reaction time, under more so than over, so it is vital that I try to get myself into the optimum level of arousal and reach my zone of optimal functioning. However reaching the zone of optimal functioning can be difficult to do, especially compared to increasing the amount of practise I partake in and the amount of fitness work I do on improving my cardiovascular endurance and muscular endurance to reduce fatigue, thus it is essential that I work on both these aspects to improve my ability to make frontal tackles as I can have the most control over improving them.

Attacking Weakness 1: left-handed spin pass

An attacking weakness of mine during a game situation in rugby is performing a left-handed spin pass. This is a weakness of mine because when performing a left-handed spin pass it often does not hit my intended target or is performed with the incorrect technique.

Spin is put on the ball when it is passed to make it spiral through the air more aerodynamically, applying spin means passes can be made over longer distances. When I carry out a spin pass with my left hand it often does not spin in an aerodynamic fashion, with both noses of the ball lateral to one another (see diagram).

 Therefore, my pass often does not travel far enough to reach my intended target and instead loops into the air. The reasoning behind my spin passes not travelling in the correct way is due to my hand positioning as I do not keep my right hand far enough forward on the ball and often have it resting above or below the centre line of the ball instead of on the centre line of the ball which is where it should be. Another problem with my technique is that I do not always look, focus and then aim where I want the ball to go. Instead I glance at my target and focus more on the opposing player coming in to tackle me. This is a problem with my technique as it often means that my pass is not entirely accurate because I have not picked an exact target area to aim for thus making my pass unsuccessful.

Jonny Wilkinson is a perfect example of someone who performs the left-handed spin pass with the correct technique. When preparing to pass he keeps his right hand towards the front of the ball and rests it on the ball’s centre line of gravity, this hand is used as a guide to increase the accuracy of the pass. He keeps his left hand towards the back of the ball resting below the centre of gravity. He carries the ball at chest height, looks first at his opponent and then looks at his receiver as he prepares to pass. Once he was looked at where he is going to pass Wilkinson carefully chooses the correct speed, direction, height, distance and speed he will need to apply to the ball to make a successful pass. When executing the pass he rolls his left hand from the bottom of the ball and rotates it to the top of the ball through the action of supination.  This action creates an eccentric force which causes the ball to spin and increases the distance of the pass. At the same time as doing this Wilkinson swings his arms towards the receiver. During the follow though stage of the pass he watches the ball leave his hands and points his fingers at the target area, which will be the chest of the receiving player.

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My inability to perform a left-handed pass is due to a lack of self-confidence to carry out a successful spin pass with my non-passing hand. All performers are more likely to produce better performances if they have belief in their own abilities to complete the task, ‘the most consistent difference between elite and less successful athletes is that elite athletes possess greater self-confidence.’ Gould et al. Bandura (1977) proposed that the self-confidence levels of an individual is dependent on the situation they are in and can vary from moment to moment. This relates to my inability to carry out a ...

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