EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Nine clever ways to increase the intensity of your training

Des Diamond, the former RFU coaching development manager, says he concentrates on intensity in training.

“Too many players standing around for more than 20 seconds in drill time is not on” he said. And this was after he observed a top-level team, which will remain nameless, do just that. So how can we increase the intensity in our practices?

Why intensity?

  • Turns the technique into skill. Skill is defined as using technique in a decision making or match situation. Performing a technique when there is less time to think improves the learning of the skill.
  • Reduces boredom. More action equals more enjoyment.
  • Keeps players warm. This is not only relevant on cold days. Keeping warm maintains a level of activity to keep muscles ready for further use.
  • Replicates the match situation. In a match, players have to concentrate for short spaces of time entirely on what is going on. Therefore, a drill should be intense activity for short periods of time, rather than long periods of semi-activity.

How you can get more intensive

  1. Split your players into smaller groups.
  2. Run more than one drill at a time (for example, three boxes with three different skills being performed by three different groups).
  3. Work them in pairs and not as individuals.
  4. Add more stations inside a grid.
  5. Make the area smaller to allow your players to return to starting points more quickly.
  6. Have a return activity. For example, once players have gone through a drill box, get them to return to the starting points performing another drill or exercise.
  7. Add more balls into a handling drill.
  8. Automatic starting – make the emphasis on your players starting as soon as possible, not waiting for your signal.
  9. Understanding the reason for what they are doing. Impress upon them repeatedly: “If you’re not working, you’re not learning or improving.”

Poor intensity warning signs

Long queues of players. Players don’t queue in a match and they more likely to distract each other if they are queuing.

Players not sweating or tired at the end of the drill section. Most of a match is performed when players are not at their freshest. Mistakes are more likely under this sort of pressure, so if the players have not been made physically uncomfortable, they are not replicating a match situation.

 

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