Ask Dan

Got a coaching question?

Dan Cottrell, Rugby Coach Weekly’s head coach and editor can help.

A former player for Bath and Bristol, Dan is a level 3 coach, level 2 referee and course tutor. He has coached international rugby with Wales Women, representative rugby with Ospreys U25, U18s and U16s and is currently coach with Swansea Schoolboys U15. He also coached his son’s team from U6s through U16s.

He’s a regular contributor with ConnectedCoaches and a former director of rugby at Cranleigh School.

It’s always good to have somebody to ask for advice when you encounter a problem with your team. Whatever your coaching problem, Dan is perfectly placed to help.

Check out recently asked questions to get the advice you need. If you are a subscriber drop Dan a line (you’ll find his contact details in this week’s issue of Rugby Coach Weekly digital magazine) and he’ll even send you the resources you need from our archive of coaching sessions.

Defensive systems from set piece

in Ask Dan, Defence

My U15 team has leaked lots of tries from scrums and lineouts recently. What are the best ways to defend from these set pieces? The problem lies in the connection between the forwards and the backs. The backs are 5-10m back from the forwards, so when the ball is released, they don’t immediately connect. MORE

Combating a lack of aggression

in Ask Dan

In my Ask Dan post, I answer a question I get asked regularly: “my players are skillful but lack aggression when it comes to games - how can I address this?”. I offered some games and solutions to the question on creating more “aggressive players”. MORE

ASK DAN: Help! We are too bunched and can’t...

in Ask Dan, Tactics

At Under 10s, players struggle to recognise that a couple of passes open up the game. Instead of passing to space they simply run there. That reduces the impact of other team mates and often it’s only the quicker or stronger players who get their hands on the ball. Solve this with two long-term fixes MORE

COACH QUESTION: How to coach the forgotten contact skills

in Ask Dan, Contact, Rugby drills

"With the return to rugby, I’m really worried that my team (U13s) will have forgotten lots of things about rugby. In particular, I’m trying to work out when and how to introduce contact and tackling." This question came from a coach in Gloucester and is typical of lots of concerns around this area of the game. It is true that the players will have "forgotten" lots of skills.  Here's how I would approach this situation. On the next page are two tackling exercises to support training. MORE

How can I introduce more “dog” into my players

in Ask Dan, Rugby coaching

received these two emails within a few hours of each other, so this isn’t an isolated situation. However, I will hasten to add, it’s not a problem either. Up to the age of 17/18, boys grow at very different speeds. This is both physically and mentally. It’s likely that the more “aggressive” teams you face have a number of boys are ahead of the curve in this sense. They are more mature than their peers. MORE

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