The drills shown in this video are only a few of the very poor examples we see every single day on social media. They’re all poor choices of scrum drills for a few reasons.

Firstly, just because you saw the All Blacks doing a particular drill or the great Gurthro SteenKamp doing a specific drill with an elite player, does not make them right for you, and I’m sure they’d attest to that. Those players are in the top 1% of scrummagers in the world! They didn’t get to be in that 1% by doing these complicated drills, they’ve worked their way up to that level by first mastering the basics, beginning with their own bodyweight.

The reality is that 99% of the scrummaging population are not at that elite level. And the majority of that 99% struggle to keep their shape when lifting a single limb up from the base position (let alone 2 limbs), and yet the examples we’ve highlighted are what they’re trying to recreate.

There’s a lot going on here

Secondly, most of the people replicating these drills, do so with such poor form, that they’re training themselves into bad habits, and making an already poor exercise choice add to their risk of injury.

If you asked them why they’re doing it, you’d get a response along the lines of “we saw *insert professional team or player* doing it, so it must be good”. This is all well and good if you’re *insert professional team or player*, but reality is, you don’t know WHY they’re doing it; you don’t know HOW to do that drill correctly and so you end up trying to replicate it, without really knowing anything about what you’re doing.

Even more going on here

Thirdly, (and maybe most importantly), scrum drills can be creative, without being over-complicated

Creative drills take a simple drill and add a slight variation to make it more challenging. Much the same as doing the ordinary base position grid drill (see previous social media posts), but then adding a ball on your back as the variation. Keep it simple.

Over-complicated drills on the other hand, involve balancing with one arm on a bosu-ball with a neck weight and 5 bands pulling you every which way. They look complicated because they are exactly that, complicated. Don’t confuse complicated with being advanced. Hint – less is more.

Tightheads using a stick? Let’s just give the loosehead an open invitation to our chest!!

Next time you’re practising your scrum drills, keep it in the back of your mind that the “bells and whistles” exercises might look good for an instagram video (to the uneducated eye), but won’t do much for your scrummaging development. Simple drills are the key to becoming an elite scrummager.

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Pearce · October 23, 2019 at 9:55 pm

Great post. It’s very easy to think the more confusing the exercise you do the more benefit you get from it when in reality the opposite is often the case. Simple correct training is much more beneficial. You can’t beat getting out on the pitch and actually scrummaging for practice in my opinion.

    Samuel Needs · October 24, 2019 at 9:17 am

    Thanks for your kind words.

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