Session Focus – Ball Ups / Stoppages
The most successful teams are also the best teams at winning stoppages! The Centre bounce and ball ups are one of the most important parts of the game. A team that can consistently win the ball out of these areas will generally win the game. In this area of the game you must be doing one of the following:
- Attempting to receive the ball
- Blocking the opposition so that your team mate can receive the ball
- Blocking an opposition player so that they can’t receive the ball
- Running to receive from a designated team mate
He is responsible for getting the tap out and directing the ball to a spot worked out by the on ball group. Constant communication between this group is vitally important. It is important to vary the direction of the tap as well as the length of the tap, this puts the opposition constantly under pressure as to where the ball will be directed.
He is responsible for roving the opposition ruckman’s work and putting extreme pressure on the opposition’s receiver if he wins the ball from the tap. The sweeper must constantly “tread water” as not to commit his actions too early. This player can also be very creative if we win the knock out by supporting the receiver and running off to receive the ball.
Receiver (Rover / Ruck rover)
He is responsible generally for getting the ball, running to a predetermined position decided by him and the ruckman. He must be fully committed to the role, eyes on the ball, creative, power runner and being a real work horse in the middle.
The Protector (Rover / Ruck Rover)
He is responsible for assisting the receiver in getting the ball by shepherding / blocking, running at opposition players who are placing pressure on the receiver. He needs to be of strong character, disciplined, a good reader of the play and prepared to use his body.
Important points to remember
- Be prepared to change the roles of the centre group, this continually keeps the opposition guessing. The opposition are then unable to make plans to stop your dominance in the centre square.
- If one of the players in the centre square is being tagged then swap this player to the sweeper role or the protector role. This negates the opposition tagger and places him in a position not able to support his team mates and gives our receiver a better chance of winning the ball.
- It is crucial that players around ball ups are on the move and get to where the ball will be landing.
- Keep your hands up and be prepared to do whatever is required to get the ball going in our direction.
- If we are constantly winning the ball ups, keep the area open, if we are losing them then we must get numbers into the area.
- Be mindful of knowing your role if you are being rotated through the midfield.
- Most importantly players around ball ups must know their role, must be good communicators and be mentally and physically prepared to achieve the aim – get the ball going our way.
What The Experts Say About Ball Ups / Stoppages
"If you can't win the stoppages, say goodnight.”
"Stoppages are the most important part of football - win them and you usually win the game."
“The bottom line is that to become a successful team, you need to be strong in winning stoppages.”
"At the end of the day, whoever wins the stoppages will most probably win the game."
“Games go the way of the stop plays, so this is one area that teams need to be proficient at in order to wins games of football.”