A book review of Ulitmate Crush: Waseda University Rugby, Leadership and Building the Strongest Winning Team in Japan Katsuyuki Kiyomiya translated by Ian Ruxton. The Japanese love slogans. Ultimate Crush, which was coined for the Waseda University rugby team, translates differently according to the dialect used*, but the core meaning of “overwhelming victory” is clear. MORE
4 quick steps to improve players
Player reviews can get forgotten as coaches and players turn their thoughts to a well-earned summer break. But they needn’t take an age – look at the group as a whole to manage your pre-season training practically.
CREATE A TEMPLATE
Weekly player reviews are a massive part of the professional game, where there’s both the time and resources to regularly analyse performance. At the end of the season, the coaches can draw all this together.
You don’t have that time. Instead, spend half an hour drawing up this template (right) of your positions and make a quick review of what your team needs.
IDENTIFY KEY THEMES
You have a limited time between the start of pre-season and your first game. You don’t have the coaching resources to spend time with individual players in the way you might want.
So you have to plan and train smart. Identify some key themes and work on them in groups. You cannot cover everything.
SKILLS THROUGH CONDITIONING
Don’t get tied up in detailed reviews of conditioning. Players could always be fitter and faster. However, you can target skills through conditioning. It’s the emphasis you put on the conditioning that matters, not the volume.
For instance, your front row could work on tackle conditioning to help them become more mobile, whereas your back row could do more ruck fitness and your back three sprint fitness.
SHARING IS CARING
Player “buy-in” motivates them to work harder at what they think is important. But again, you may not have time to sit down with every player to do this.
So set the agenda by giving them options. Tell each group of players four or five key areas you think would be worth doing and let them choose two or three to concentrate on. You could even give them two and let them decide on one.
But make sure you have the final say. Why? Because most players have a limited understanding of what they really need to do. And because you want the process to be quick and easy.
Here’s an example of how you could create an easy-to-use review sheet.
Put in all the players who might play a particular position (don’t worry if they play more than one, they’ll still have to work on the skills).
Work out who your best player is in that position and what makes him the best. That makes it easy for you to identify what the others have to do to equal that player and to start thinking about what you can improve.
Then write out what they could do better and what you’re going to do in training with that group of players. This list can be published for, say, all the forwards and then all the backs and they can choose what they think is most important and add elements where appropriate.
Here’s my guide…
Click to get an editable sheet Player review and work ons or save the PDF below…