EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Three ways to make game sense game tense

Training using “game sense” helps players contextualise skills in a game situation. Ramp up these sessions further by making them “game tense”.

Use bibs to separate teams clearly

1 TWO TEAM CULTURE

It can be hard to recreate scenarios where players perform under pressure. Add some tension to the session so the players feel a competitive purpose in training. Create two teams not just over a session but over a number of weeks.They can be a mix of abilities or specific groups. Every time there is a game, split the players into those teams. This creates an internal team spirit and an on-going rivalry that can be carried over into subsequent sessions. Break up the teams after a month and restart with different ones.

2 CONSTANT SCORING

Keep a tally of games won and lost. Remind the teams of their status against the other team. You will find that each game will become more competitive as the teams seek further points to add to their tally. Post scores in the changing rooms before training.

3 CONSEQUENCES

Finish the round of games, say after a month, with a menial consequence for the losing team. It could be cleaning the other team’s boots, or washing the changing room floor. Make it time-based and unrelated to fitness or skills.

UNEVEN TEAMS

It may be that one of the teams is depleted by injuries or absences for that session. There are two approaches to take.

  1. The first is to suspend the competition for that session.
  2. The second is to say just tough luck and the depleted team will have to play with no substitutes or even fewer players. It might act as a spur for players to turn up. The absent player will be noticed if his team are struggling for numbers.

THE GAMES

Now all you have to do is create games for every session. They could be small-sided games like rugby netball, or conditioned games like variations of touch rugby.

Refereeing and fair play become more important as well. You will have to work out how much intervention you want to make in these situations. It all adds to game tension.

GAME TENSE GAME: FOUR CORNERS

  1. Mark out a large pitch with a 5m box in each corner.
  2. Split into two teams.
  3. The attacking team can pass in any direction but cannot run with the ball.
  4. To score, the ball must be passed into one of the 5m boxes. However, a receiving player cannot remain in the box for more than two seconds and no defender can enter the box.
  5. Two points for a score, one point for a defender going into the box.
  6. Turnover the ball after a two point score, dropped balls or interceptions, players running with the ball.
  7. The game develops movement skills, passing, communication and depending on the size of the pitch, conditioning as well.
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