Rugby coaching tips to get more out of your training sessions

1) Few goals, high expectations

There is always lots to cover in training, but a few areas done well will lead to a high-quality outcome in the short and long term. Therefore, set only a couple of goals for your rugby coaching session and expect high achievement.

This will also mean fewer changes in the players’ mindset. Less change means more focus, less time explaining, reiterating and feeding back, and so more activity.

2) Rugby warm up drills

Dynamic stretching has replaced static stretching as the main form of “warm up” preparation. Dynamic stretching is a range of warm up movements involving gradual increases in activity.

These exercises can easily be integrated into a slow form of the drills you are going to use. Slow motion handling, footwork, rucking and mauling can all be done at walking pace in a safe environment to prepare body and mind for increased activity.

3) Urgency at the right times

Because you have reduced the number of goals, you can spend more time on getting specific techniques and rugby skills right. However you still need to keep to a schedule and move on when that part of the session has finished.

By hurrying between sections of the session, you keep players from wandering off, physically and mentally. In cold weather, it is even more important to move swiftly between sections and not spend too long explaining how the next part works.

Fewer rules, faster games

When setting out your practices, reduce the number of rules, or key points of technique by as much as possible. This keeps everything more simple and allows players more time to assimilate the key aspects you want to discuss.

4) Keep everything central

All kit, water and equipment should be put in a central position so it is easily accessible. This means moving it all there before the session starts. This will avoid the frustration of waiting for players to refuel, change shirts, gumshields or collect extra equipment.

At the end of the session it also means that it is easier to gather up and remove.

5) “Clock on”

Some sessions will naturally flow quickly, others will drag. If you start to feel a session drag, then increase the urgency by placing a “clock” on each drill. For instance, “we are going to spend another three minutes on rucking, then five minutes on ruck decisions”.

The trick to “clock on” urgency is keeping the timings short. Actually you are breaking up the session into segments of, let’s say, three minutes each.


Starting on time

There is nothing more frustrating than starting a session with players still arriving. Instead don’t start when you are ready, start when they are ready. That means waiting until all the players are there.

They are setting the start time and the group will soon decide among themselves how urgent they want to be. But once going, it is your time.


Set one or two simple objectives for your rugby coaching session:

  • Don’t waste time stretching in the warm up – use it for mental tuning and gradual physical acclimatisation.
  • Move quickly between the drills, and keep to a schedule.
  • Centralise all equipment, kit and water.
  • Tell the players how much time they have left on each exercise.

Great training time wasters

  • Too many coaches talking after each section. Instead have one voice, a clear message and then move on.
  • Using complex drills which take time to explain and set up. Better to build up the drill in parts so the players are kept active. Add new elements when your players are ready to move on.


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