EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Five important to-do tasks that you should be on your “lockdown” list

These are uncharted times. No team training, many players stuck at home.

Here are some priorities to help you and your players make the most of the challenging situation.

1. TRAIN WITH A PURPOSE

Already the internet is full of great ideas of what to do “at home”.

However, there’s a danger that these create a confusing mishmash which soon loses its purpose.

You need to create a training plan for your players that has a clear intent.

Give your players a time when they should train. Tell them what they should cover and why.

Of course, they can help you devise a plan. But, have a plan.

So, number one on your to-do list. Create next week’s training plan. Work around typical training nights, not something for every day.

2. SET TARGETS

To train with a clear intent, you and your players need goals.

Simple targets should start by being time-based. For example, by Wednesday I will have written a plan.

After that, you should use the SMART acronym.

Specific to your team and their needs.

Measurable, so the players can show that the goals have been achieved.

Agreed with the players, so they buy into your process.

Realistic enough that all the players have a chance of achieving the goal. You can set up bonus targets for the keener players.

Timed – the first part of planning process.

So, number 2 on the to-do list. Set some smart targets.

3. SCOUT TRAINING SPACES

Create a list of places away from the house where players can train, and keep safe.

These can be parks, beaches, hills or even up and down the pavement.

Give clear guidance on how these spaces can be used.

And, essentially, do not specify meeting times. You are not organising undercover team training.

Which means number 3 on the to-do list is find some alternative places for players to train.

4. CREATE A STRONGER COMMUNITY

Your team dynamic has changed. You are not in front of them, sensing their energy on the training pitch.

You have to imagine that you are creating a new, stronger community, using the old community as a basis.

A new community needs an identity. It needs a purpose. And it needs those in the community to work for each other.

So, while it’s not much different from what was there before, you have to involve the players (and parents if appropriate) in the way it develops.

Reach out to the community asking them for their support. Give them or design with them tasks to work on.

For example, can you find three ways to improve our jumping ability? Or can you design a running circuit in a 10m square?

Crucially, everyone should be able to find an identifiable role. For instance, player A is our jumping specialist.

Create or find a role for all your new community is your fourth point on your to-do list.

5. UPSKILL YOURSELF

Now is an ideal time to expand your coaching by working on areas you didn’t have time for before.

Start with a simple task. For example, read a chapter of a coaching book. Reflect on it, ask others in your coaching community about it, blog about it, make notes on it. See if you can rewrite a session plan or activity that puts it into a different context.

Of course, Rugby Coach Weekly will have to plenty of nudges or ideas on where to look and what to look for.

Click here for our E-learning course on Fault Correction and Praise.

Number five is allocate a specified time in your day when you are going to work on your coaching skills.

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