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8 Ps for pre-season preparation
With only two or three rugby coaching sessions available before the first game, you will need to face up to the challenge of organising the players into a coherent team. Fortunately, most of your opponents will also have limited opportunities to prepare as you.
Here are my rugby coaching tips for making the most of your time, to give you an edge.
Plan for the season, but cover only the major elements in the first few sessions. Concentrate on the players’ techniques. Change only a few aspects at this stage. Now is not the time to rehash things completely, just to start the process.
Time spent on rugby fitness drills in the pre-season period will reduce early season stiffness and some of those injuries that can reduce a team’s overall effectiveness.
Tune the players’ minds into the team’s objectives. Clear instructions on the aims of each rugby drill and encouragement are obvious starting points. Individual rugby coaching programmes and skill goals for each player will provide further motivation.
Set out the “team philosophy” early on. The pre-season sessions set the tone for the rest of the year. Good practice now will engender good habits later.
Establish the patterns of play the team is likely to use. You then need to ask yourself whether the pre-season rugby coaching sessions are aimed at this pattern. If not, change them.
Play between the phases
Rugby is played in phases. If you practice a scrummage, then play on through the next phase.
Practice only a few moves
It is unlikely you will have many opportunities to carry out a variety of plays in the first few games. Progress to more complicated moves and rugby skills later in the season.
With so much to fit into so little time, it is worth having a few “perfect” moves you know you can rely on.