Sidestepping Against a Slope
Sidestepping Against a Slope

Rugby: Use a Hill to Teach the Sidestep Move

Dick Moss, Editor, PE

The sidestep is a common move in rugby, football and other sports in which a ball-carrier must elude a defender. The ball-carrier runs at an angle in one direction, forcing the defender to move that way as well. The ball-carrier then pushes off the outside leg and moves laterally inside the defender.

Although it's a natural move for many, some students have difficulty performing it well. And even if your players are able to make a good sidestep, the following drill will make their move more explosive.

Use a Slope
You can give your beginners the feeling for an explosive pushoff by practicing against the side of a slope. Have them run slowly at an angle towards the incline, then push off hard with the leg nearest the hill and stride sideways with the other leg for a quick change of direction.

Once they begin to master this move, your students can progress by increasing the speed of their running and decreasing the slope against which they push. Eventually, they'll be able to perform the sidestep at full speed, on a flat field. 

1. Tony Biscombe & Peter Drewett, Rugby: Steps to Success, Human Kinetics Publishers, 1998.
2. Simon Worsnop, Rugby Games & Drills, Human Kinetics, 2011.

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© 2011, Physical Education,

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