Beauden Barrett: How to mix your kicks
All Blacks fly-half Beauden Barrett, the World Rugby Player of the Year, explains the different kicks he employs
Beauden Barrett made the most metres (395) and beat the most defenders (24) in last year’s Rugby Championship. Yet the All Blacks also kick more than any other Test team – and here Barrett explains why.
1. FIND THE SPACE
“Kicking is definitely positive,” says New Zealand fly-half Beauden Barrett. “It’s getting the ball to wherever the space is as quickly as possible. Whether you run, kick or pass, you just have to find a way to get the ball to where the space is.”
2. BE DECISIVE
“What kick you use depends on where you want to hit it and how quickly you want it to get there. You look at the defensive shape or if the full-back is deep. Even if it’s a 50-50 call, you have to back your decision and commit 100%. Decide and do.”
3. CROSS-FIELD KICK
“I’d use this if the wingers are tight and the full-back is deep. You want a 15-metre window for your winger to run onto the ball. The key is you don’t want the ball in the air too long or the defence to have time to get there. It’s a low drop and a low kick.”
4. GRUBBER KICK
“If there is space behind the defence and no cover, I’d go close to the line and kick in between them. You need to be really close to the line so the attack can run onto it. Target the space between two defenders, then get the ball and your foot through.”
5. CHIP KICK
“If the full-back is deep and there is space behind the front line, a chip is good. With a grubber you find a hole between players, with a chip you go over the top. It doesn’t want to be too high because you want to catch it before the defence recovers.”
6. BANANA KICK
“This is quite a risky kick but I’d say I try it once a game. You kick the edge of the ball, which takes the energy and allows the ball to arc out and cut out extra defenders. It goes straight and then curves later in the flight, rather than arcing at the start.”
WHAT YOU COULD DO
- Do some simple snaps. Drop-punt 5m to a friend and slowly up the length. Nail technique in a small space, then go longer.
- Once you have good technique on one foot, try to kick off the other.
- For a grubber, work on kicking the ball end over end. You don’t want it to roll on its belly.
- Work together with the other kickers, looking at different kicks. We either work on our kicking in a separate session or during the work-ons window, and it’s good to talk through different kicks and ideas.
- Focus on quality over quantity. I do about two hours a week practising different kicks. But it’s all about quality – not kick after kick after kick.
This article first appeared in the May 2017 issue of Rugby World magazine. For the latest subscription offers, click here.