Turn your game model into a training session

Welcome to the second part of tactical periodisation.

In the first part, through the story of coach Vince and his team Motley Crew RFC, we explored what it means to have a game model.

In this module, we will look at how you can implement a game model through training.

At the end of the module you will:

  1. Understand how to create a training session based on your game model
  2. Have an example template and blank template for a game model

Let’s remind ourselves of what a game model is.

In fact, we are going to be making sure your team has a shared game model.


A game model is an understanding of the performance problems the game presents and the tactical solutions available overcome these problems.

A shared game model is especially powerful because it allows groups of players to understand and try to solve problems in the same way. If we, as a group, can think on the same lines, then we will understand each other much better.

And that’s what a shared game model aims to do. Sharing a way of playing so everyone knows what they are trying to achieve.

The “game” part is how the game is won. We aim to score more points than the other team.

Putting together a shared game model is the way your team solves the key problems in a game. Those problems are solved with the principles of play:




Let’s split the game into five game moments:

That leads means that where we find ourselves in that moment, we have a performance problem to solve with a principle of play, which leads to a tactic.

A solution to a problem is a tactic. Essentially, it is a coordinated action by the team. For example, a kick and chase to advance the ball.

A performance problem is that the opposition will position themselves to outwit your tactic, but it is difficult to nullify all potential tactics

Therefore, tactical understanding is an understanding of the options, and how to adjust to different opposition responses. These adjustments can be summarised as if-then rules that you need to read the opposition and make adjustments to the tactic. For example, if the winger is back, then run and then kick.


A performance solution needs your players to be able to execute the tactic.

First, you need to assess your strengths. Can you execute this tactic now?

Second, you need to develop a training programme to continue to develop these strengths and also develop other skills to execute this tactic.

Third, they need to account for the strengths of your players and levels of creativity they bring.

Let’s think about this second plan of action: turning your game model into a training session.

Jason Tee worked has worked in rugby and strength and conditioning across the rugby pathway from grassroots to international level. In the world beyond rugby, he works as a coach education and development specialist.

Mike Ashford is a lecturer in sports coaching at Coventry University, coach educator and developer and rugby union coach. Mikes work with coaches ranges across a number of sports working in community, talent pathways and elite professional contexts.

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