"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
My Under 18s team needs more players. What do you suggest?
The best source of new players is friends of current players. To make the most of this needs proper activation.
- Speak to each player and get a good idea of who they could ask. Have a checklist of who you’ve spoken to. Most of the conversations will be informal, but you will want to check you have spoken to everyone.
- Make sure that training times are clear and contact names are easily accessible. If you don’t want to give out your personal email or mobile number, use social media accounts like Kik, Twitter or set up a new Gmail account.
- Follow up the procedure at least twice in the next few weeks. Don’t take no for an answer. Keep pushing the players.
- Though you want the players to persuade their friends to play, you can also expedite the process. Teenagers are not renowned for their energy to follow things through. Find out the mobile number of these players and ring them up yourself.
- Have a clear mission that embodies what is good about playing for your team
- Emphasise fun, fitness and teamwork
- What kit they will get when they join or any other benefits. For example, the importance of future employers knowing that players are part of a team and the social side of playing for the team.
- Ask if training is on the best possible night.
- Make training evenings even better. Well-planned sessions will maintain momentum.
- If a new player arrives, do you have a strong message to give them? Make sure they are welcomed by all the players.
- Keep your social media outlets for the team constantly updated by the players with positive messages about training.
- Make matches about more than the match itself. For example, use fun forfeits after each game or different post-match dress codes. Let the players come up with the ideas and take part yourself.