EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

4 ways to end on a high

Players have short memories! So even if your practice isn’t panning out as you hoped, finish it with a bang and it can turn an ordinary session into a great one. Especially with youngsters…

Sometimes it’s not your fault if a session doesn’t quite go to plan.

Players turn up late, someone is disruptive or the weather is foul (or even too hot!). And, occasionally, what you’ve planned just doesn’t seem to work out this time around.

So, here are four tried-and-trusted ways to bring a session to a memorable end…

1. Game of Thrones

A good session-ender is the Game of Thrones. If you’re not familiar with the popular TV series, two warring factions try to take control of the Iron Throne. In this case, it’s forwards v backs.

First, play a forwards-orientated game (such as only allowing mauling, in a narrow area). Keep the score. And then play a backs-orientated game (such as end ball), in which the backs have to outscore the forwards by the difference. The players will love the competition. Co-opt forwards or backs to even up the numbers, and keep a running “win-loss” ratio over the season.

2. Obstacle races

Another game, but here the players have to use or carry various pieces of equipment through a course.

Have the players design a part of the course, like jumping over ruck pads or crawling under a low pole.

The races are fun and competitive. Keep the set-up time to a minimum, though, to ensure they don’t lose their focus.

3. Fitness challenge

End a session with a team fitness mission that relies on everyone completing the tasks. Split the team into two or three groups, with the slower players in one group, and so on. For instance, it could be front five, middle five and back five.

Handicap each group, either by the number of exercises they do (say, three press-ups as opposed to seven) or by starting points.

Then give them a fitness circuit to do: run, exercise, run, exercise, run. Time them. Then challenge them to repeat, with everyone matching or beating their time.

4. Wrestlemania

In a tight area, play a game of rugby with no passing. Have three teams, with the “winning” team staying on. If a team infringes or goes out of play, they’re immediately replaced. If you have a group of 20 or more players, play two concurrent games.

In all the games or activities, you set the tempo and excitement. Be positive and upbeat, encouraging and getting the other players to help each other. Don’t make the end of the session a punishment for a poor middle or beginning.

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