The Line Out Calls
A couple of weeks ago I was discussing my role at the lineout.
One of the points I made in that piece is that in every side I played in, I called the line out. In this article, I wanted to briefly touch upon line out calls and what you should be planning when developing a game plan of calling.
- Keep it simple- don’t over complicate.
- Make sure all the guys know all of the calls- The codes used are subservient to people actually learning them properly!
Any good side normally will operate 3 or 4 banker calls, front, middle, back, long defensive over the top. Underpinning that will be a ‘change call’ which we’ll discuss shortly.
There are many variants of calling and here’s some examples for you:
Words- using words beginning with a certain letter, that letter being allocated to a part of the line out. Taking the simplest ones- a three word phrase where each word has no repition of letters throughout the phrase- e.g. Thames (Front) Rowing (middle) Club (back). So if the call was Shane 123 that would mean a front ball (S is in Thames). Byrne 456 would mean back ball. You can throw a load of numbers around the word just to confuse the opposition, but in my experience these calls are the easiest to crack.
Numeric- using either the position of a certain number (let’s take 4 for front, 5 for middle and 8 for back) so Shane 5 would mean middle. Of course this can be further developed – a trigger number can be used so that if the trigger number was say 7, the number after 7 is the line out call- eg. 2978 is a back ball as 8 is after 7. Another variant is to use the number shape after the trigger- eg Straight numbers (1, 4, 7) front Curly numbers (2,3,6,8, 9) to middle, and anything with a zero in to the back. So, using 7 as the trigger again, 32877 is a front ball, 31270 is a back ball, 71345 is a front ball. One of the beauties of the numeric call is the words can be thrown around the numbers to confuse, but also to depict something special- eg you could allocate the name of a fruit to being a back peel off the back row jumper, 37098 Peach being an example.
Team Specific calls- the hardest ones to crack! A friend of mine’s university used the name of college footballers for the front, cricketers for the middle and rugby players for the back. The South Africans at one point used town names in the Cape for front, in Natal for middle and the High Veldt for the back. Very tough to crack if you don’t live in SA!
Change Calls- these can be used in two situations.
One of your jumpers is totally unmarked and can see it. He himself calls it (say the call is Bill and Ben!) and when I call my usual call he would bellow Bill and Ben to signify to me that he’s unmarked. I then change.
When it’s going wrong and for whatever reason my jumper wants the ball thrown elsewhere. Pretty much as above, except that I’d make an initial call, the jumper would respond, and I would then recall, rather than throw. It’s all about GOOD COMMUNICATION and your side knowing the calls.
Lastly, some sides have variant calls for lobbed balls going a pace back, flat balls with the jumper stepping up and forward, and front, middle and back peels. The key is forming a plan, keeping it as simple as possible and making sure all of the side, including the backs (as they need to know where the ball is coming from to decide their play) KNOW the CALLS.
Munch’s Top Tips.
LEARN the calls- including the backs!
- Keep them as simple as you can
- Have banker calls
- Have variation calls.
- Communicate properly and keep your eyes open for changes!
Hope this helps you.