Pre season rugby based around games

How former England player and experienced representative coach, Mike Rafter, prepares teams for a new season.

Rugby training plan

Over five weeks we play a round-robin tournament based around three games – rugby netball, touch rugby and soak up tackle/power walking rugby. Each game is strictly refereed so all the benefits are apparent.

Team captains are nominated and they are then allocated an initial squad of five current players. It is the responsibility of the team to ensure there are enough players for each games session. They can do this by recruiting up to five other players not already nominated.

These can be new players, players outside the initial squad or friends who want to try out playing for our team. The benefit of this system is it generates new players from a wider circle of contacts and there is a better chance that these players will come back again.

“Teamship” is a good motivator and it is easier for a new player to come with his friends than just turn up. With the whole team responsible for making sure there are enough players for each games evening, we never have a situation where one team does not turn up.

Rugby training session with three rugby games

Set up rugby training session

The three rugby training games are familiar to most players. However, I have some strict criteria and rules so players can improve their skills and fitness.

Each game lasts for 10 minutes, with a two-minute changeover. With six teams, each playing one round on each evening, the whole rugby training session should last no more than 45 minutes.

The games are played all together on one pitch marked out as in the picture above. Apart from cones and three balls, I use three referees, a timekeeper and a scorer. I have found that local referees are always looking for some “rugby fitness” training and are happy to get involved.

With the commitment so small, it has not been difficult to persuade these people to participate and it adds to the authenticity of the games. All the results are recorded and posted on the club noticeboard. There are two points for a win, one for a draw and a record is kept of tries for and against.

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