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
Rugby coaching tips to modify games and maintain interest
However, you’ll find that children become complacent if they have played a game over and over again. They will stop getting the same benefit from it and will stop having fun.
It is important to have a bank of games to draw on to maintain interest and intensity, for instance, by using a manual such as 48 Rugby Skills Games.
Another idea is to make small modifications to your existing rugby coaching games to freshen them up for your players.
The following example demonstrates how small variations in the rules of an initially simple game can change the game totally, and yet challenge the players and develop their skills.
The five-pass game
Two teams of five play in a 10-metre square. The team in possession has to make five complete passes to score one point. The player with the ball is not allowed to move and his team mates have to work to get into space for him to pass to.
The defending team is not allowed to touch the ball carrier and has to either intercept the pass or knock it down to win a turnover.
Modification 1: Passing rule
Players must now make all passes below shoulder height. Previously players will have thrown overhead passes across the square, most of which will have been unsuccessful. This rule forces them to pass to players in space and close to them.
Modification 2: Time rule
The player with the ball can only hold on to it for three seconds before he has to pass. Any longer and it’s a turnover. This makes sure support players are getting in position quickly and that the ball carrier has to make quick decisions.
Modification 3: Movement rule
Allow the ball carrier to move with the ball but he still only has three seconds to pass. This makes the ball carrier look for space and his team mates, and improves the players’ communication. It also means the defending team have to work harder and also communicate more.
Modification 4: Silence rule
Make one team play in silence to see what effect it has on their success in attack and defence. This makes them use vision more and also gives them more appreciation of the importance of communication. Let each team have a go attacking and defending in silence.
Modification 5: Contact rule
Make the game full contact. Only the ball carrier can be tackled and only one defender can make the tackle. If the ball carrier is tackled to the ground without passing, it is a turnover.
This makes the game more rugby-like and develops the players’ contact skills and their ability to offload in contact.
Key rugby coaching tips
Competitive games work well when the scoring is simple and applied well.
Shout out the scores as the games are played. It encourages the winning team and fires up the losing team.
However, if the game becomes one sided, modify it to even up the teams.
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