Framing the problem
We want to have a shared understanding. That means having a shared language. And then we want to simplify complexity for the players.
To simplify the complexity we need to clearly and explicitly share the plan (and the thinking behind it) with the players.
This can be done by using questioning and then establishing buy-in by attempting to execute this on the training ground.
To make the game model work, the players need to make order from the chaos.
They have to find themselves in the place they want and then implement the plan. If they want to do something they know they can do well, they need to put themselves in that position.
Mason outlines his theory of what a defence looks like. He calls the defence a daisy chain – defending players connections.
“Attack in rugby is simple. It’s a constant observation and assessment of two daisy chains; the front field (the defensive line) and the backfield (back three covering kicking space).
The strength, width and connection of these daisy chains, should paint a picture of opportunity.
If the daisy chain is spread weakly, then we break it by playing through the middle.
If the daisy chain is too short, then we beat it by playing round. If the backfield daisy chain is poorly connected, then we kick over into space. Simple.”
If we want to look at this from a more formal academic level, it looks like this when we are sharing the mental model:
- Teaching principles of play with representative practice designs
- Using sub principles and heuristics (If-Then rules)
- Perception of game information
The representative practice designs will be covered in subsequent modules. In essence, you are trying to closely replicate what will happen in the game in your training so that players can see and react to the right cues. Note, it doesn’t just have to be games-based.
The players and Vince need to share this model. They need to agree on the principles, the if-thens given their shared understanding of the game information.