For the average club player, just watching their professional brethren, even live at a match, will not necessarily improve their own skill set, but there are certain aspects of their play which can help.
The professional players obviously spend much more time honing their skills and carrying out repetitive drills. More information can be found at the RFU website.
Drills are designed to ensure players develop a mindset to make their own decisions as situations arise on the pitch.
For the club player, watching a rugby drill video such as those provided by https://www.sportplan.net/drills/Rugby/, can be helpful.
Here are five examples of areas players can improve.
The defending player should be balanced and prepared to tackle on either side as the attacker makes an evasive move. Everyone has a weaker side, so practise as much as possible to strengthen tackles on that side. After contact the back leg provides balance as the tackler drives off the front foot to push the attacker backwards.
A second player close to the tackle may choose to “double up” and prevent any chance of an offload. If you cannot guarantee exerting pressure on the ball, it is best to realign your defensive position and await the next phase.
One of the most effective ways to break the defensive line is by beating the man in front of you. By angling your run, you will compel the defender to move in one direction – a swift sidestep close to contact can leave the defender flat-footed and off balance. Even if caught by the defender, the tackle will be low allowing the off-load.
At the lineout hold the ball in the same way, regardless where your receiver target is, to avoid giving tips to the defensive side. A solid accurate throw will follow if you push your hands through on release.
Practice can ensure that you recognise the sweet spot on the ball. The great kickers like to open up this spot by leaning the ball forward. All kickers have their own run-up, but find something you are comfortable with rather than just copying your favourite player. Practice will help to take you into the zone when lining up a kick during a game.
Enjoy training like the pros and practise hard.