The Professionals: Top Tips for Playing Centre, by Helen Nelson

Helen Nelson shares her top-5 quick tips for playing centre. Keep these basics in mind & build on that foundation.

My top tips for playing as a centre..

1/ Basics…

You can never be too good at the basics. Passing off both hands accurately and quickly should be second nature to you, as the ball moves faster than any player on the pitch.

2/ Carry…

When in doubt, carry and don’t give up. If you’re under pressure and you’ve not got clean ball or unsure whether to pass, get your head down and run forward as hard as you can. If you hit contact keep driving your legs and buy time for your supporting players.

3/ Always be a threat…

You can’t afford to have a bad game off the ball. It is just as important when you don’t have the ball as when you do. Running effective lines will engage the defenders and create space for your teammates. You should always be moving and always be a threat.

4/ Stay nimble…

Paddle your feet in defence and take little steps. It is very important when defending as a centre to keep your balance as you have large spaces to defend and nimble opposition. For me, I think about keeping my feet underneath me for as long as possible. When I go to make a hit, I aim to get my foot as close to the opponent as I can, so that I can generate power through the contact.

5/ Have fun…

Enjoy it. I play the best rugby when I’m having a laugh with my friends. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, mistakes will happen, it’s how you deal with them that’s important. Go out and have fun with a smile on your face.

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About the author

A rugby player since the age of 6, Helen Nelson made her International debut in 2016 when Scotland Women faced France in the Six Nations. A former league and cup double winner for Murrayfield Wanderers, Helen lines up every weekend for French Top 8 club, Montpellier.

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