What to coach
The games should actively promote the Principles of Play and the key skills to be able to play them well.
Principles are the fundamental way the game works. If you want to score tries in attack, then you have to use the principles.
This is my version of the Principles of Play and the one I use with the Bristol Bears Academy.
PRINCIPLES OF PLAY
In attack and defence the Principles are:
- Go forward
- Apply Pressure
- Retain or Gain Possession
This is how the principles connect to the game.
- The ball has to go forward to score. That usually requires space in front of the ball carrier.
- If that space is blocked or the ball-carrier is stopped, support is required in order to keep the ball going forward. This may be by receiving a pass or in securing the ball in order that it can be passed.
- If this happens continuously it puts the defence under pressure creating an opportunity to score.
- The defence will endeavour to prevent this by applying the same principles. Go forward to prevent the opposition from doing so, do this continuously by having support, which applies pressure on the attack, creating the opportunity to contest possession: ruck, maul, line-out, scrum.
Some children will struggle with the concept of passing backwards to go forward. That’s fine – and why I would always promote them running with the ball. The U7 game in England is all about running forward and scoring – passing is very much secondary to this.
The main skills that players need are:
Skills should be underpinned by physical literacy: stability, movement, control of self and the ball.
A skilful games coach will weave the skills into the principles. At the moment, you just need a basic understanding of a skill. With less experienced players, they only need this too.
Let’s see how we can create a game using the WHY and the WHAT in the next topic.