The other week I was watching another coach set up what I can safely say was a drill: 10 cones evenly spaced in front of two lines of players, no decision-making and off they went. The players ran out with the ball, put it down, ran to another cone, ran back and picked it up. They passed it to a team mate who repeated the exercise. MORE
7 coaching risks worth taking
Sometimes you have to be bold when coaching. Take a risk that can change something for the better. Nothing ventured, nothing gained – so try these ideas for size.
1. Let someone else take a coaching session
Don’t employ a guest coach – use one of the players. Step back and let them run part of the session. Obviously, be there to check for health and safety issues. Give the player a week’s notice. You can watch how the other players react and give some responsibility for learning to the team.
2. Play without your best player
Give your best player a week off. The team will know in advance he is not there so will adapt and cope. This will help them deal for when he is injured. It is also good for the player concerned because it helps him understand there are situations when he might not be picked later in his career. But you need to be very clear why you are doing it. The player concerned will be rested and fired up next week, I can guarantee.
3. Cancel training for a week
In a long season, a week off from training can be quite refreshing. Tell the players in advance so they can plan to do other things instead. Use it as a reason that they should be at all the other sessions. It needs to be planned into the structure of the season, so not before a particularly vital game.
4. Save time and put your tactics on your website
Your players read the website. They check for timings and selection. Why not put down your tactics as well, so they understand what they are doing and why? This should save time in training. The opposition teams might well read the website too. That’s fine, because you are going to have a couple of plans to work to. For instance, you are going to run more than one type of lineout in their 22. You don’t have to say who is going to run where or who specifically the ball is going to.
5. Don’t say anything at half time – just let them drink
At half time, let the players take on some water, rest and then split into forwards and backs. They can discuss what they want to do. Then bring them into the huddle and ask the captain to say a few words. If you have briefed the players well enough before the game, they will simply be repeating your messages anyway.
6. Start training with a full-on game
Do a good, physical warm up and then play a proper game of rugby. Modify the set pieces based on the numbers. You can then highlight and feedback on the hoof. Finish training with some work-ons from that game.
7. Don’t work on fitness
Leave fitness to the players outside of your training sessions. Train them hard when you are with them. Players who are really struggling in the sessions need to be told they must work on their fitness. Other players will do so naturally. Don’t waste valuable coaching time on running and press-ups.