Motivate, inspire, improve

England’s Joe Cokanasiga poses for a selfie with a fan after the match

All the stars we see on TV started out just like your own players – learning the basics and building on them year on year. Here are four ideas to help youngsters be like their international heroes…

Recreate famous moments

Create match-like scenarios that replicate recent high-profile games. For instance, you could set up a 2 v 1 (or 3 v 2) to illustrate a winning try.

Tell the players that there are five minutes to play and England (or Ireland or Wales…) are leading 24-19! Perhaps they can stop the try being scored. Other scenarios could be “kick and chase” or a goal-line battle.

Adopt a country

Up the session’s intensity by telling your players that they’re on the “international field”. Identify two teams, with one team representing your country and the other team their recent rivals. Then it’s five minutes of a game of your choice to see who wins.

Later in the session, swap the teams and play the same game. Then work out who’s the winner. The players have to imagine they’re playing for their country and now it becomes more important.

Skills to watch and learn

At the professional level, players are extremely fit and strong, so they can do things that your team won’t yet be able to manage. But your players can still replicate the following:

  1. Offloading out of the tackle
  2. Changes of angle before the tackle
  3. Quick support to the breakdown

Play a game of “grab” touch. The defenders must aim to grab the lower part of the shirt or shorts to make a tackle. Once grabbed, the ball carrier has 3 seconds to pass the ball.

Keep it simple – but fast

Often it’s the simple things that international players do well that are worth highlighting. “Catch and pass” and running to fix defenders are bread-and-butter plays at the highest level. The best make it look simple, and they execute at such pace.

Run the easy skills at top pace to test your players. And refer to examples from televised matches.

And keep watching TV matches for more ideas.

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