20 questions you should ask

Coaches should engage continually with young players to ensure messages are being received and understood. But what questions should you never miss out? Here’s what to ask in the next session…

Good coaches use open questions when delivering sessions and to check for comprehension. But above and beyond the nitty-gritty of training, there are other questions that may expand the understanding and approach to playing rugby.

Involving parents in some of these may also sell a point without needing to have specific conversations, especially around the pastoral areas. Below are some stock questions to use. Some answers and guidance are supplied, but mostly the questions concern better understanding.


Some basic questions at the start of every session can highlight any issues before they become a problem.

Players with a drink on hot days, and sufficient layers on cold ones, are likely to be more attentive as well as having their basic needs of fuel and warmth covered.

1. Have you got a drink? Hydration on a hot day is imperative. But it’s also necessary in cold weather as players still dehydrate when exercising.

2. What did you have for breakfast? A good breakfast aids concentration and provides energy.

3. What should we wear? Layers on a cold day.

4. Are you fit and well to play today? Check for injuries.

5. Have you got your mouthguard/ headguard? Protect mouths and scalps!


Setting expectations and understanding at a young age creates a mentality for a lifetime in the game.

6. Why are you here? Focus the minds.

7. What do you want to achieve? Check for expectations and understanding.

8. What do we do when the game/ session is about to start? Warm up our minds and bodies.

9. What do we do when the game/ session has finished? Cool down and thank everybody.

10. What should you do when you get home? Put dirty kit in the laundry and eat something to replenish energy.


Check that players appreciate the “whys” as much as the “hows”.

11. What are the principles of play? Possession. Go forward. Support. Continuity. Pressure. These provide context to everything we practise.

12. What are the key factors for this particular skill?

13. What are the laws about this skill?

14. Which players must ruck and maul? The correct answer is “everybody” but naturally forwards should give it a far greater emphasis.

15. What is the most important thing on the pitch? The ball. The referee may disagree!


Ensure players fulfil their role in understanding what makes rugby a special game above others. There are no right answers… but there may be some that are clearly not correct!

16. Who can play rugby?

17. What makes a good team?

18. What is the spirit of rugby?

19. What is not acceptable in rugby?

20. What are the benefits of playing it?

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