Get the most from your rugby coaching warm ups

I will spend up to twenty minutes out of a one-hour training session on the warm up. This time is not a conditioning session but a combination of the following:

  • A reinforcement of the last coaching session's themes.
  • A mental and physical preparation for the forthcoming rugby coaching session.
  • I usually practise the rugby skills at a slower pace than normal, perhaps around half intensity.
  • A chance to ingrain the team's "staple" plays.

What's in the warm up?

There are a lot of rugby footwork skills, since they have so much relevance to all areas of the game. We might use ladders, but I think they are more use in the conditioning sessions that players will be doing at other times.

As the players' heart rates increase, I will include some dynamic stretching rugby drills, but we don't use static stretches due to the weight of evidence against them.

Start with staple plays

We practise skills at half pace in the warm-up, especially in what I call our "staple" plays. These are the moves we do on a regular basis, simple ones that require players to co-ordinate their actions.

Examples of staple plays might be switches with the fly half (we call them "wraps") and pop balls which have different angles of running ("unders and overs").


Finally, the warm-up session is about reinforcing the themes from our last rugby training session. They could include, for instance, five minutes of continuous lineouts and plays from the lineout. Players swap in and out, acting as passive defenders when they are not in the move.

They are at a low intensity, and build a set of plays. They ensure all the players in the squad know their roles should they be called upon as a replacement.

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Click here for two rugby warm-up drills to work on players' speed. 

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