Who is Ryan Gallop?
Ryan is the Performance Director at EZIA Human Performance in Carlsbad, CA. He serves as the USA Rugby Men's National Sevens Strength & Conditioning Coach.
For the last 5 years, Ryan has assisted David Williams, USA Rugby Strength & Conditioning coach, by facilitating training programs for members of the USA 7s and 15s teams living in the San Diego area, including Team Captains Todd Clever and Matt Hawkins.
The T Drill
Rugby, like most field sports, involves moving quickly and efficiently in all directions. This means to be successful an athlete must achieve an adequate level of agility. Whether you’re a naturally slow-twitch prop or a shifty, lightning quick winger, utilizing cone drills can improve your agility. A great cone drill for rugby is the T-drill because it involves sprints, shuffling in both directions and backpedaling. To add rugby specificity to the drill different start positions and visual cues can be added for a reactive component.
While not very aerobically challenging, the T Drill would be considered “Hard Work” due to the high level of skill and full-speed nature. They can be used for both 7s and 15s anytime during the season. When performing most SAQ (speed, agility, quickness) sessions the goal is for maximum speed of movements so volume should be low with full recovery between reps. Occasionally SAQ can be performed for conditioning purposes but we’ll get to that later.
Setup: To perform the T-drill all you need is 4 cones and a small area of grass or turf, position 4 cones in a T Formation all 5 yards apart. Start at the first cone in a 2-point stance OR on laying flat on your chest.
Action: When your partner lifts ball “out of the ruck” sprint to the second cone. During sprint partner points the ball either right or left, athlete reacts to this and shuffles* towards that cone. Decelerate and tap that cone, immediately shuffle to the opposite cone, shuffle back to 2nd cone and backpedal** to start position. Keep eyes on ball throughout the drill.
*Cues during lateral shuffling are staying low while not clicking heels or crossing feet
**Cues during backpedal are nose over toes, lead with your elbows