The Bristol Bears and Wales back's tips on putting boot to ball

How to spiral kick – Top tips from Ioan Lloyd

The spiral kick is having something of a resurgence in rugby right now. Here Bristol Bears and Wales back Ioan Lloyd offers his advice on how to master the skill…

Why spiral kick

“I try to use the spiral kick because when you connect properly it goes further. You get that bit of a glide with a spiral kick that carries it on. If we were in our 22 and I’m trying to kick it as high and as far down the pitch as possible, ideally into touch in their 22, that would be very hard to do with a normal kick.”

Where to position hands and feet

“Sean Marsden (skills coach) and Mark Tainton (CEO and ex-fly-half) both talk about holding the ball at 11 and five. For a right-footed kicker, one end of the ball would be pointing at 11 o’clock and one end at five o’clock.

“I want to keep my plant foot solid and I try to get my hands as far out in front of me as I can, so I can step into the kick. I place the ball just outside my right leg so I can get a swing into the kick.”

How to practise

“In practice I’ll drop in the spiral alongside other kicks. I don’t do it that often, maybe four or five times a session, but I know my spiral is rolling if I can pull it off during those random times.

“We try to recreate the pressure of a game in training by kicking at the end of the session when we’re tired and out of breath. Then the coaches will give us a time limit or number of steps that we have to get our kick-off in. Callum Sheedy is really good at that.”

Related: Callum Sheedy and Ioan Lloyd in conversation

When to use it

“During the week we’ll decide on our exit strategies. Usually in our 22 we want to kick the ball long using the spiral but everyone will scan to see if there is an option to run instead.

“If we’ve kicked long a few times, they might have the wings covered; that would open up the middle of the field for us.”

This article originally appeared in the June 2021 edition of Rugby World magazine.

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