Rugby drill to help decision making

Focus on the cues

Good decisions come from a clear focus on the correct cues. Cues are signals to the brain to help choose the next action. For rugby decision-making, the cues are mainly visual.

Players need to be doing certain things subconsciously to allow them to think about making decisions. For instance, they should not be spending much brain power "thinking about" running.

The purpose of this rugby coaching session is to prove that if players have too many other thoughts on their minds, for instance the running lines of a complicated move, they may not see a gaping hole in the defence.

Clear the mind

Use the following rugby drill to illustrate to players the importance of clearing their minds.

Passing drill in a circle with countdowns

  • Have 10 to 14 players in a circle with half of them holding a ball. The ball holders pass to a spare player. Let your players do this for 30 seconds, counting how many balls are dropped.
  • Get your players to count back from 800 in increments of 17 (or some similarly unusual maths or alphabet question) as they pass the ball. You will find more balls will be dropped.
  • Finally, ask players to count from 1 to 100 as they pass. You should see an improvement.

Player feedback on success and failure

The key rugby coaching point here is to show players how performance varied when they were making a conscious effort to work out the maths problems and when they were simply having to count up to a 100.

You are looking for players to draw a parallel with running complicated pre-planned moves in a game.

If players are not well-rehearsed and natural, the chances to make breaks because the defence has done something unusual or unexpected are reduced. This is because the player is working hard to run the right lines, but not seeing what is happening in front of them.

Back in the circle game the player passing the ball has to make a number of decisions based on what he can see in front of him.

If the potential receiver looks away when the ball carrier is about to pass, the ball carrier can hold the ball and look for another player to pass to. He can only do this with full concentration.

The simple conclusion that the players are expected to make with this rugby drill session is that they need to have their complicated actions well-rehearsed or not use them until they are so.

Decision making rugby coaching drills

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