Most under 8s, just like U7s players have very little appreciation of the game of rugby. However, if they have already been playing tag for a year, they will at least understand about “tag” rules, if not the principles of play.
However, the challenges remain the same as for under 7s: keeping the players engaged in rugby-like activities which give them a taste of the game.
Spend lots of time on simple games which develop:
Ball handling, with some catch and pass
Remember that the players are likely:
To be selfish
To lack concentration
To be difficult put into ordered drills or activities.
So, don’t fret too much if they don’t seem to conform to a team. As long as they are having fun, and the session isn’t too long, then your job is done.
This is an adaptation of a game I use in school. It’s great as a warm-up or as a game to encourage and support creativity before moving towards a more rugby-specific game. It encourages and challenges evasion skills, spatial awareness, communication, as well as passing, kicking and catching. MORE
Encourage your players to use good footwork in small spaces by avoiding contact. These two fun activities are excellent for warming up body and mind. Though rugby is a contact game, avoiding it is a core skill. There are no set techniques because each player will have their own style. Let them develop it in these two activities. MORE
Get your ball carriers used to running forward to score tries. This session can be run as a warm-up or as a proper tackling session as well. Often players fail to run forwards even when they know the try line is that way. This session should encourage them to attack a space in front them and go for it. MORE
Develop your players’ go-forward skills with evasion in this competitive scenario. It’s easy to set up and you can add lots of variations. Even though some of the players will “cheat” by not exactly stepping to the side of the cones, their swerves and go-forward will help them replicate these skills in a match situation. MORE
Create pace onto the ball from a “free pass” to a static player by encouraging your players to organise themselves quickly and work in threes. When the rules state that a free pass has to be to a static player, your players have to be at ease with repositioning themselves to be able to generate some pace onto the ball. MORE
The ball is often fumbled or passed poorly as players get used to handling. That means more ball on the ground. Help your players recover the ball and play away. A moving rugby ball isn’t an easy thing to pick up. And once gathered, the new ball carrier has to make decisions on what to do next. Use this session to work on techniques and options. MORE