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How to nail a drop goal

Jonny Wilkinson drops a goal to beat Australia

The drop goal is one of the most useful skills to have up the sleeve of your jersey. A quick three points when your backs are against the wall can really turn things around; just ask Jonny Wilkinson (above). We were going to ask Wilko for some pointers but then we thought, why ask a former great when you can get your tips from someone at the peak of his powers? So we put in a call to LCpl James Dixon, the captain, and outside half, of the Army Rugby representative team.

  • There are three key points to kicking a drop goal successfully: keep your eye on the ball; get the drop right; and follow through.
  • As you set up for receiving the ball keep your inside shoulder facing the outside post.
  • As the ball comes to you, catch it with two hands. Adjust the position of the ball in your grasp to make sure the point of the ball is facing downwards.
  • As you step forward with your non-kicking foot, try to have the ball held at waist level.
  • You want to drop the ball about 30cm in front of your standing, non-kicking leg. As you then drop the ball – looking at the ball the whole time – make sure the point of the ball lands square: the idea is that the ball bounces straight up rather than at an angle.
  • As you drop it you want to concentrate on connecting with the main part of your foot just as it comes off the floor.
  • If you’re right footed, your left arm should be raised to shoulder-height to help with your balance.
  • As you strike the ball, your body will rotate till it’s square with the posts. Follow through with your leg in the direction you want the ball to go; if you go left or right the ball won’t go straight in the direction
    you want.
  • For maximum power your leg will come up probably past waist height and then you just follow through on to your tiptoes. Keep looking at the ball the
    whole time!
  • If you want distance try to kick the ball just as it bounces; if you want height, delay connection a fraction so that your boot gets further underneath the ball.

Name: James Dixon
Job: Combat engineer/surveyor
Unit: 26 Engineer Regiment
Rank: LCpl
Biog: Joined the Army in 2011 as a junior entry (aged 16). Has since been to Kenya & Canada and played rugby for the Army since 2014, and as captain last year.

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