EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Don’t let the game be the coach

From the previous example, we’ve discovered that a skilful games coach will be prepared to change their objectives.

To do that, you have to be brave enough to allow the players to find their own solutions.

AVOID THE TRAP

However, I often see coaches fall into a common trap.

It is often said, “let the game will be the coach”. It works to a degree. It assumes the players can organise themselves, set the rules and change them, run the game and reflect on the learning.

If they don’t do all those things, the players will be asking themselves or the coach, why are we doing this? How does it relate to the game and rules we’ll be playing on the weekend?

Therefore, your role is to make the game purposeful. 

My concern is that the session might be only entertaining, but lacks purpose. Purpose is a clear direction of travel which relates to rugby and its principles.

MAKE THE GAME PURPOSEFUL

I see a lot of fun and engaging games on the internet, including the RFU’s Game Changers. They have great intentions and are a good resource except…they encourage the very approach you’re trying to avoid: Monkey see, monkey do.

The monkey has totally no idea why he or she’s doing what he or she’s seen and what to do when it doesn’t go the expected way. We need to make these games more efficient. And you need to know why you are “doing” the game.

I want you to pose yourself a series of questions to ask about the game you want to play:

  1. What is the purpose of the game?
  2. Can it be used for any other purpose?
  3. What principles of play are involved?
  4. What skills are being used?
  5. Is it appropriate for the group (age and capability)?
  6. What will be my focus?
  7. What rules/conditions can I use to make it easier/more challenging?
  8. What prior learning will I expect to see?
  9. What do I expect the end game to look like?

We are going to explore these questions in a worked example.

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