Fatigued Decision-Making

This game enables you to examine how your players react when fatigue is creeping up on them. Are they able to maintain their physical and mental speed, and does their technique hold up as their energy declines?

What you need for this game

  • 11 players
  • 3 balls
  • 8 cones
  • 4 tackle bags ( or shields*)


Use cones to mark out a playing area measuring 25m x 12m. Use more cones to mark lines at 5m and 15m. The try line is a further 10m on from the 15m line, as shown 1.


Play two-handed touch rugby.

Each game ends when either a try is scored, the defenders take possession of the ball or the player in possession is tackled by a defender.

* If no tackle bags are available, you can use shields instead – the player hits the shield, drives, goes down on to his stomach then retreats.

What you do as coach

1. Position four attackers at the end of the playing area opposite the try line, faced by four defenders holding tackle bags standing on the 5m line. Place two further defenders on the 15m line and another on the try line.

On your whistle, the attackers move forwards at speed, tackle the bag to the ground and then retreat to the start. They continue this routine until you decide to blow your whistle again (the whistle can go early or late – keep the players guessing).

2. Immediately after your second whistle, pass a ball to the attackers, who then run down the area to attempt to score.

3. As soon as the attackers are clear of the bags (the bag holders mustn’t interfere) the two defenders advance from the 15m line to meet them, followed by the last defender who moves up from the try line.

How you can progress the game

Make life tighter for the attackers by adding an extra bag on each end and direct the tacklers to slide left or right.

Add a new dynamic by allowing the attackers to kick the ball.

Give the attackers more to think about by placing the defenders in different positions.

Fatigued Decision Making-1

  • Blow first whistle.
  • Four attackers advance, tackle bag to the ground and retreat.
  • Decide: The first phase of the game, which tests tackle technique and speed off the floor, is very tiring. How much can the players take?

Fatigued Decision Making-2

  • Blow second whistle.
  • Pass ball in.
  • Attackers advance past bags towards try line.
  • Note: How effectively can the players move from defence to attack when exhausted from the previous phase? See who adapts well.

Fatigued Decision Making-3

  • Defenders move forward from their lines.
  • Attackers attempt to score.
  • Observe: How does fatigue effect the players’ core skills? Can they still run good lines, communicate and make decisions effectively?
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