EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

The one thing you must do five times as we go to back to training

Back to training and there are five things you must do to ensure you make the most of your precious time with your players.

Before we start, here are three things you shouldn’t do: 1. Do fitness testing. 2. Overload the players with too many skills. 3. Run extra sessions for catch up. Click here for more on how to introduce fitness practically into your sessions.

Being positive, here’s what you should do:

ONE: PREPARE TO ENGAGE

Send out multiple times the same message about training.

In that message, outline your expectations, and what the players will be facing the first session. Use lots of media platforms. Encourage your players to share the message. Perhaps even use #excited, #fun, #team or other words to create a theme.

TWO: ENGAGE EARLY

Use this expectations message to reach out to the players for their feelings.

For example, ask them to suggest one or two aspects of the training that you might consider. Be careful to say you won’t necessarily put them into the first session. You have a balancing act to play in terms of their expectations and the reality of a first session back.

THREE: ENGAGE DEEPLY

Not every player with reply or acknowledge.

Ask again. Ask their mates. See if you can find out why they are not replying. You can’t expect them all to turn up, but you can make sure the ones who won’t are okay.

FOUR: ENGAGE IN THE MOMENT

Your first session back needs plenty of space for rebuilding connections.

Slow everything down. Stop games for lots of water breaks. Don’t play lots of games either. Plan for some slow motion “drills”, to build confidence. If you sense the players are capable, speed it up.

However, a space out your plan to gives them plenty of opportunities to remember who’s who and just chat.

FIVE: ENGAGE AFTERWARDS

Send out messages very quickly after the session.

Reiterate the core messages, remind the players of their next session and how to look after themselves in the space between now and the next training session. And, offer up a place for them to chat if they found it hard or a struggle.


Want to get the most from your first training sessions back?

Here are two sessions from Russell Bolton, the rugby professional at Magdelen College School, Oxford and Tring backs coach.

He’s also got a pretty cool idea for a warm-up activity, which you could use at the start of week 2.Try out Empowered warm-up with games.

Dan Cox, head coach of Old Reds and a Sports Lecturer at SGS Academy, reflects on how to return to play from the first lockdown in Making the most of Stage D.

For more ideas on Return to Play, click on this link.

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