The seventh priority concept involves attacking lines. This is a concept that is often poorly addressed and many coaches will assume wrongly that their young players will know where to run. Another issue arises from the fact that teaching of the concept tends to be based on Rugby type thinking. This is obviously relevant but does not consider the intricacies involved in touch as a game.
By definition, an attacking line is the movement pattern of an attacker both as the player in possession and also off the ball or as a support player. In touch there are a number of specific lines that are run to achieve various objectives however in Priority 10 we concentrate on the four basic lines. It is important for juniors and their coaches to understand these four lines including – how and why each line is applied in a game and importantly, why the specific line is a critical part of attacking principles. The first line is the direct line which is covered at Foundation level, while the three other lines are covered at intermediate and or advanced levels. The direct line is essential in that junior players need an understanding of the concept that running straight in attack is fundamental to effective attack. Quite simply if we can get the player to exploit both the space behind an offside defender as well as not drifting across field, we will have achieved an important objective.
The second line involves the back in or “inline”. This line is important in attack in order to exploit spaces that have been vacated by defenders who have been dragged in field mostly to cover for other defenders. The key to this line is the change of direction back in not only to avoid the attention of another defender, but obviously to engage them as well. This can create space for other wider attackers.
The third line is the “out line” which is usually a line run by touch wingers. In this line a winger will start in field running quite straight to begin with but then quickly changing direction to run out before receiving the pass. This sudden change of direction often places them outside their opposite defenders when they receive the ball and contribute to their ability to beat the defender who often reacts slowly to this manoeuvre. This out line is also a precursor for the 4th line – a higher level concept which involves the bounce or “A” line.
This line sees the off the ball support player changing their line at a critical moment in the attacking phase. Similar to the out line, the player will initially run an in line first before suddenly changing direction again and popping back out. They need not go very far and just a few steps in often has the desired effect on defenders. These in – then out manoeuvres can confuse defenders. There are other types of lines used in contemporary touch like a passive line, however these four are the main ones to be covered at the junior level.