EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Game changer answers

Beware!

This is going to be very in-depth. But I want to show you ALL the possibilities.

This is because every game will have lots of possible outcomes or opportunities. Later on, we will find out how to concentrate on the key ones for you.


What is the purpose of the game?

The stated outcomes are to develop safe and effective tackle technique scenarios and applying pressure.


Can it be used for anything else?

Having watched the video you will have your own ideas. Here are my thoughts on the scope of the practice. Remember these are expert observations and so I would not expect you to have this many or in the same detail. Hopefully, one of your thoughts resonates with one of these ideas.

  • Exploring types of defence, which may be determined by numbers. For example, for those who know a bit more about the game, fewer defenders might encourage a drift defence, more defenders might encourage a blitz. This is something for the players to work out.
  • Types of tackle and purpose, by creating an opportunity for a contest for the ball and a turnover.
  • Exploring attack with more and fewer numbers.
  • Support: what options are offered to the ball carrier?
  • Hierarchy of contact: can we pass before contact, offload in contact or use on/off feet presentation?
  • Ball presentation in contact: can the players prevent a contest for the ball?
  • Attitudes and character: how do the teams react to having less and/or more numbers. Work harder? Ease off? Give up?

Is it appropriate for the group (age & capability)?

I think it is possibly okay with U9s to U12s with rule changes. Definitely from U14 upwards. See the rule modifications in the “What rules can be changed” question.


What principles of play are involved?

Go forward and support, which are compromised in attack with lower intensity pressure.

At 1m50s in the video, plus and minus points are introduced and the intensity of the game is (allegedly) reduced to focus on tackle technique. The coaches then ask the attack to go forward and be creative, which they are unable to do because the intensity has been reduced.

At this point, the game is a defensive game and has compromised the go forward of the attack.

To make the most of this it would be worth the coach asking players to explore the impact of going forward in defence, and the attack is prevented from doing so: How might the defence create and exploit that in the future and then, what would the attack need to do to prevent it?

Mindset and attitude could form a part of that exploration.


What skills are being used?

  • Tackle
  • Evasion
  • Pass
  • Catch
  • Ball presentation

What will be my focus?

In this game:

Principles of play

  • Go forward and support

Skills

  • Tackle technique

Game understanding

  • Purpose of the tackle
  • Options in defence – fewer/more players

Character

  • Perseverance
  • Attitude

Delivery

  • Active
  • Decision rich

What rules/conditions can I use to make it easier/more challenging?

Under 9s – 12s to build confidence

  • Allowing a grab or hold to count as a tackle (scores +1)
  • +1 point to attack if ball carrier passes ‘on’ contact (i.e. not held)

All age groups

  • Below-waist tackle +5 points
  • Below-waist tackle gains a defender
  • Allow kicking
  • +1 attack point if the ball carrier moves the ball before tackle called

Under 14+

  • Only gain ‘opposition player’ if tackled called
  • Both sides able to attack/defend
  • Attack able to gain player if no tackle made in their attack

On the last rule change, I have totally no idea how/if this will work. I might have to adjust it accordingly and be prepared to abandon it. It will be fun finding out!


What prior learning will I expect to see?

  • Tackle
  • Catch and pass
  • Support
  • Offload
  • Work ethic
  • Resilience

What do I expect end-game to look like?

With no adjustments to the rules, I would anticipate getting to the ‘end-game’ pretty quickly. It does depend on the age and experience of the players.

  • An intent to defend within the parameters set
  • More purposeful defence to gain players
  • Dynamic support to create pass option and prevent losing players
  • Go forward from both attack and defence
  • The intent of the defence to gain players and attack to support, exploit space keep ball moving.

The end game would look very different with a change in rules and focus.


Okay, pretty detailed.

Let’s simplify the process so we can start to see how to put these games together. That is, the why and the what.

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