EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Activities for U9 players

Under 9s rugby is the first year of contact rugby.

This is a significant challenge for players and coaches. However, if you introduce the elements of tackling and being tackled piece-by-piece, the players can adapt and grow at their own pace.

First, play games in a small area where they are likely to bump into each other. This creates awareness and resilience without getting too technical.

Second, keep tackling activities short and sharp in every session. You can have three sections of five minutes interspersed over an hour’s session.

Third, help ball carriers learn to fall when they are tackled.

Follow our guide to coaching U9s for the first time here.

For the new skills needed for players moving from tag rugby to U9s, click here.

Turn and tackle

in Tackling

Develop better footwork skills to get close to the ball carrier, plus good teamwork in this defensive reaction activity. This session builds a better defence by getting pairs of players to work together. MORE

Dens

in Small-sided games, U10+

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

Scaffolding approach to tackling

in Rugby drills, Tackling

Inspired by the work of Nick Hart, a headteacher and author of the blog,Thisismyclassroom, here is a “scaffolding” approach to teaching tackling. Scaffolding is where you build support around a task as it is introduced and built up. You then take away the scaffolding as the player becomes confident and competent. It was first coined... MORE

Defensive line speed for an under 9s team

in Defence, Tactics

Line speed, that is the defensive coming forward quickly and in an organised state, certainly puts pressure on the attack. However, it’s notoriously tough to coach, even at the senior level. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t start putting in place some organisation. Here are some ideas to work with. MORE

Change your 2 v 1 expectations for young players

in Attack, Rugby drills

The classic 2 v 1 exercise doesn’t work well with young players. Don’t give up on it though. Try out these ideas to work on this crucial decision-making area of the game. A 2 v 1 exercise has the ball carrier fixing the defender before passing to a support player. However, for young players, this doesn’t work well. MORE

Footwork bumps

in Footwork and evasion, Return to play, Touch, Tag & Sevens

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

RTP Pairs support: Great for Ready4Rugby skills zone

in Passing & Handling, Return to play

Develop your players’ ability to work in pairs in attack to beat defenders or offload under pressure to a support player. A great skills breakout for Ready4Rugby training. The ball carrier should always aim to go forward first and then beat the defender in front of him. If he can’t then he should be aware of his support players and offload the ball before or during contact. MORE

Snake footwork races

in Footwork and evasion, Mini tag, Return to play, Rugby drills

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

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