It's imperative that you don't try and over-complicate your skill-set, and focus more on getting the basics nailed!
Most of the best scrum halves I have played against were the noisiest players on the pitch. Communication as a 9 is vital as you are the link between the forwards and the backs.
The fly half, being the over-all playmaker for the team, makes a choice of when he wants the ball and as a 9 you need to organise the forwards in such a way that it is ready when needed. In defence you are often best placed to see where the next attack is coming from and you need to communicate to your front-line defence exactly where they need to be.
Always work on your fitness as SH is a tough position to play and the fitter you can be the bigger difference you can have on the pace of the game.
You can't miss out on getting to the odd breakdown - the team might miss an opportunity!
Defensively there is a huge amount of ground to be covered in behind the defensive line and also sometimes popping into the line to plug any gaps.
Ways to improve
Use some of the fitness advice given here on E4R to keep topping up your levels of fitness through the season.
There will be a natural dip in fitness as you start to play games but make it your priority to keep up the individual levels you need to ensure the greatest benefit to your team.
Never underestimate the value of your basic skills
Passing and kicking are the core skills of a scrum half’s game, so you need to constantly work on these, constantly paying close attention to your technique.
It's the single most important thing to being a good scrum half, in my opinion. You need to be prepared to practise the simple stuff at every opportunity. There's no secret to it, you just have to work and work on the basics so you can perform them effectively when under pressure.
Ways to improve
- Put 10 balls into a big bag and lie the bag on the floor in front of you or get a partner to hold it.
Ask another player to stand as a receiver; As quickly as you can go into the bag of balls and pass two balls from each hand to the receiver until all of them are gone. Focus on a good grip on the ball and finishing with hands to target on each one.
- Secondly, place a ball on the floor and ask a partner to stand 5 metres away from you.
Make sure you are standing 1 metre away from the ball.
On his clap get to the ball and pass it to your partner as quickly as possible, and ask your partner to score your pass.
For a competitive element, get another scrum half to do exactly the same and then the first to pass three balls off each hand is the winner.
Be a leader
Because of the nature of the position I advise all of you scrum halves out there to try and develop into leaders on the pitch. Don't be afraid of making key decisions on how the game is going and how it should be played if a change is needed.
Scrum halves are right at the forefront of everything that the team does and you have a vital insight into what is happening within your side.
Simple but probably the most important. Try and enjoy everything you do during training and when playing. If you aren't enjoying it then there doesn't seem to be much point in doing it. It's the main reason we all start playing games and sport, for the enjoyment, but it is so easy to lose sight of this.
Turn up and leave with a smile on your face.
For more tips on the key skills, visit our Coaching section