EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

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04/11/2021 | Rugby drills

Build contact confidence: Touch-Tackle-Ruck

Introduce players of mixed ability to contact by building up the skills through games and questioning. I’ve found that using this progression of activity, the players develop contact skills together. You can adjust the pitch sizes and timings to suit your players. MORE

04/10/2021 | Attack

Push pass offline

This session will help players highlight their core skills under pressure. It works especially on short passes when the ball carrier is running “offline”. Offline means the passer is either running towards the intended receiver or away. MORE

Mini tag


07/28/2020 | Mini tag

Return to play: Minis and juniors try chasers

Get your ball carriers used to running forward to score tries. This session can be run as a warm-up or as a proper tackling session as well. Often players fail to run forwards even when they know the try line is that way. This session should encourage them to attack a space in front them and go for it. MORE

Small-Sided Games


04/19/2021 | Small-sided games

The standards game

I've been fortunate enough to have Eddie Jones deliver some sessions. This is the game he started with and it is excellent for reinforcing key messages around core skills or principles of play. MORE


The speculator 2

The speculator

This session concentrates on players kicking a ball ahead on the ground. They have to control it, gather it and score, as they might when pouncing on a loose pass from the defence for instance. They might have to dribble the ball, or pick up and pass it. Any player may be in this situation and it will be a good source of tries over the season. MORE

How to improve working in pods 3

Pod rugby

The use of pods, that is small pre-defined groups of players, used to be the preserve of the top teams. However you can utilise these groups to help your players gain more structure and, crucially, know where they have to run and who they have to support. MORE

How to fend off 2

Fending off

The fend is controversially illegal up to certain age groups. It is an important attacking weapon though, which can be utilised to beat a player one-on-one or to offload to break through a defensive line. It needs practising, especially so players can use it in games once they’re of age. MORE


04/17/2021 | Warm Ups

Escape the square

‘Escape the square’ is a quick game that can be used in warm ups to get players focused on moving the rugby ball in attack, scanning for space and communicating with team-mates.  MORE

09/22/2020 | Email Newsletters

Evasion skills warm-ups and games

Evasion is a fundamental movement skill. Players use in pretty much all their activities, without necessarily focusing on the specific skills they need. Without becoming too bogged down in the technical requirements, you want to improve your players starting and stopping, balance, change of direction and acceleration. With that comes an awareness of space, time, teammates, the opposition and the ball. MORE

09/3/2020 | Email Newsletters

Warm up for Stage D tackling and contact sessions

It's exciting that in England at the very least, contact training is back. However, with only 15 minutes allowed for contact training, you won't be wanting to waste any precious time. So, why not get the players warmed up for contact, without contact! How does that work? MORE


05/2/2021 |

Roundup Rodeo Ep48: Reviewing the best content

Host Phil Llewellyn with guests review some of the many great podcasts, books, articles and webinars from the last week.  This week's guests: Andrew Wilesmith, Chair of Rugby Development with England Schools RFU, John Fletcher, Magic Academy founder, coach and mentor and Russell Earnshaw, Magic Academy founder, coach and mentor. MORE

04/28/2021 | Podcast

The Final: The Remarkable and Untold Story of the...

The remarkable and untold story of the 2014 Rugby World Cup winning England side from the view of their coaches, Gary Street and Graham Smith. In this episode, winning a World Cup twice, watching the same game every week, abandoning a bus on a traffic island, ‘Paul McGinley didn’t coach them did he?’, Alex Payne, Johnny Hammond, Nick Heath’s 'Never Forget' and ‘It wasn’t our choice'. MORE


05/6/2021

Lions’ selection: The coach’s joy and pain

Did Warren Gatland pick the right players for the British and Irish Lions summer tour to South Africa? His team of selectors will have been looking at balance and the style that they want to play. They might not pick the best players but more likely combinations that will complement each other. MORE

04/20/2021

Train pods to break down organised defences

Against an organised defence, you can use closely packed groups of forwards to dent the line and then attack the recovering, disorganised defence. Often known as pods, this requires organisation, especially around the roles of the players in terms of carrying the ball and supporting that ball carrier. In its simplest format, after a set-piece like a scrum or lineout, the forwards who were not involved in winning the ball back after the first tackle, realign to take the next pass. This is in the expectation that the backline doesn't penetrate the line the first time. MORE

04/8/2021

Two coaching ideas that will make your planning easier...

I recently polled coaches on Twitter on how long they spent planning. While over half suggested they spent up to 25 minutes on the process, two in every five coaches spent longer. Planning a session isn't easy and we all know the horrors of a poorly planned session. Here are two coaching ideas to make it easier. MORE

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