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Guide to coaching U7s and tag rugby
Participation and fun are the core outcomes for under 7s.
However, concentrate on:
- Evasive running to score tries – that is running forward but able to step to the side of a defender.
- Catching and passing – probably when the players are static.
- Don’t worry about defence.
- Help players understand the rules of TAG.
- Don’t spend much time on tactics.
- Keep training to one hour.
- Mix up training with lots of games and few activities.
Be patient with skills. Don’t expect much progress every week. Then, suddenly, they will surprise you.
Also, there will be a vast range of concentration levels, and this can vary from week-to-week. If you find yourself shouting at the players to concentrate, you might need to move onto a different activity.
Or, just ignore them and carry on. As long as they are active, they will be making some progress. There will be mistakes. At this age, fault correction isn’t a key coaching outcome. Just maintain the session’s momentum.
Sessions and skills
The top two skills to work on for U7s are:
- Evasive running to score tries
- Catching and passing
A well-structured session will have:
- A warm up game (like Stuck in the mud) for 10 minutes
- A skill exercise from last week, with developments for 10 minutes
- A game, like touch rugby for 10 minutes
- A skill exercise with NO developments 10 minutes (maximum)
- And finish with a game. Use this game to help them understand some of the basic rules of TAG.
At U7s, you’re introducing skills, not looking for players to master them. Some might, plenty won’t.
RFU Tag rules (as a guide)
- Maximum numbers 4 v 4
- No coaches on the pitch
- Pitch size 20m long, 12m wide
- Must be on your feet to score.
- Cannot score if there’s a tag missing.
- Can score if tagged within one step of the try line – be generous.
- Play on from a knock-on or if the ball goes on the ground. Players cannot dive on the ball on the ground.
- Cannot hand the ball to another player.
- Cannot grab the ball from another player.
- Any offence leads to a free pass.
- A free pass must be made to a stationary player.
- The defence have to be 3m back from a free pass.
- No fending off.
- After making a tag, the tagger must hand back the tag.
- If tagged, the ball carrier must pass within three seconds, though they can take three strides.
- The tagger must return the tag to the tagged player. They cannot re-enter the game until this is done.
- Once a tag is made, apart from the tagger, the other defenders have to get nearer the goal line than the tagged player before they can re-enter the game.
- PLUS, no kicking or tackling…