EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

30 minute countdown to kick off

Make the right last-minute preparations to give your players the best chance to play well.

The warm-up before the first match of the season allows you to set the right tone and energy. Use our simple countdown plan to prepare your players correctly.

30 mins to go

Gather all players together and talk about how you are going to play and what targets you wish to set. Most of the games at Minis level have only one or two passes before a tackle, so setting simple targets based on the fact that a tackle is now a major part of the game focuses the players’ thoughts early especially if you also repeat them throughout the warm-up.

25 mins to go

Start with a basic unopposed passing and catching activity to get the body moving. Ensure there is plenty of activity and ample opportunities for every player to get his hands on the ball.

20 mins to go

Now is the time to bring in practices with opponents. Start with a 2v1 but if proficient, add attackers and defenders to increase difficulty. Evenly dividing players into two channels side by side should allow each one plenty of time to attack and defend.

15 mins to go

To begin with, use simple activities to warm up the shoulders and neck. Then encourage each player to complete a little supervised tackling.

I would recommend you concentrate most of your warm-up time preparing for contact as it builds player confidence if they can complete it successfully with your guidance.

5 mins to go

Complete a team run through. While the players are working, repeat the match targets at the appropriate moments and stop play when you feel you have a point to make or wish to start again at another part of the field.

Of course, as the season progresses you can adjust the warm up to meet the needs of your players but at the start, I would concentrate more on contact skills and technique.

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