I've been fortunate enough to have Eddie Jones deliver some sessions. This is the game he started with and it is excellent for reinforcing key messages around core skills or principles of play. MORE
Use a game of “Colours” to challenge the awareness and communication skills of your players.
The game revolves around different coloured try lines (and eventually balls), either the players or coach can call the change of colour, which then changes the direction of the attack.
The challenge: All the players must react to the change in direction of the pitch, being aware of which try line is where, where their players are aligned, which way they are now attacking and defending, and communicating to support a faster, more effective transition.
Depending on the age and level of your players, you can start at the first step or any of the progressions, you can also impose a ‘pause’ to allow the players a specific amount of seconds to realign.
- Set up a square pitch with two try lines in their own colours.
- Play your chosen version of rugby.
- Shout a colour for the attack to attack. To start off with, use natural breaks in play to change colour, like knock-ons, turnovers, penalties. Countdown from 5 to speed up the transition.
- Progress to calling a colour during play, so players don’t have as much time to react and have more of a broken field of players to deal with.
- In the picture above, “blue” is playing towards the green cones. Calling “Red” means they will have to turn and attack the other way. The ball carrier has to pass to restart this transition and all the other players to get onside. The countdown will hurry the change.
- Set up a square pitch with four different coloured sides. You now have the opportunity to switch the direction 90 degrees as well.
- A rectangular pitch means you can now instantly change the width and length of the pitch when changing the direction.
- Put down multiple balls.
- With the rectangular pitch, using multiple different coloured balls means the players must now react to a different starting point on the pitch.
- As play continues, you could “secretly” leave the different balls at different points of the pitch. This will stop the players following you waiting for the new ball and they now have to scan the playing area for where each ball is.
Defence or attack can choose which line is theirs. Depending on your focus, you can give the attack or defence the opportunity to choose a line to attack or defend.
Giving the defence the chance to choose which line to defend means they can be better prepared by communicating with each other before choosing, so the attack is attacking a better-prepared defence, and vice versa. The decision can either be made when you choose or you could give either team the chance to change the direction when they wish.
Defence or attack can choose a ball to use. Full confusion now where you can allow the attack or defence to choose a line to attack and defend and also which ball to use. This gives both teams extra decisions to plan, communicate and prepare. Again, you could choose when the decision is made, or you could let either team do it.
The game should be messy and it’s up to the players to take advantage of this.
Encourage players to scan all around the pitch so that when there’s a change of direction, they are better equipped.
Encourage efficient and effective communication so they can take advantage of any space opened up by the change of direction when attacking, or to be ready earlier to defend. Ask the players what language works best.
You can use any version of rugby as the base game. For example, if your current focus is tackling you can reward the defending team with a turnover if they make a dominant tackle.