A guide to coaching U9s rugby for the first time

Your approach

This is a defining season for players because they will start doing “contact” for the first time.

The main new areas to concentrate on are:

Attack: Simple decision-making, to help players develop a pass before contact.

Handling after contact, because after the tackle, the next player must pass the ball.

Building tackling confidence (see below)

(Rucks are for next year)

Click here to find out more about the new skills your team will need.


In England and Wales, tackling is the new skill for the players.

Some will be looking forward to contact.

Some will be apprehensive.

Others will be extremely worried and unsure if they want to continue.

All your tackle training has to reflect these three groups.

Manage your own expectations too. Over the year, many players will become better tacklers, but there still will be a number of players who are not good because of poor technique and another group who will not commit to the tackle.

Your approach will benefit from the following key ideas

  • Do plenty of low impact contact work (not just tackling) every session.
  • Concentrate on a good grip as your number one coaching factor. A good grip means less chance of the tackler being bumped by loose feet. But, more importantly, it means a good chance of bringing the player to ground. Why? Because all the right factors are in place.
  • Praise good processes (like good grip or footwork to get close to make the tackle), just as much as actually completing the tackle.

Two other skills need particular attention.

  • Falling on the ground well and safely.
  • The clearing pass, which is the pass away from the ground. All players have to be comfortable performing this pass, not just players who are natural scrum-halves.

Here’s a selection of activities to use in the first weeks of training:


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