Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby Fitness, Rugby Skills | Tags: All Blacks training, fitness, skills, Tanerau Latimer
Openside flanker Tanuerau Latimer, or “Lats”, gives us an insight into some of the training he does with the All Blacks.
I have followed Lats’ career with special interest after I coached him for half a season when he came over on a rugby exchange at the school I used to teach at. He was only 15, but his playing ability and strength was outstanding. He didn’t look big on the pitch, but few will forget being tackled by him.
What impressed me most about him:
1. His dedication to his personal health and welfare.
2. His constant strive to find better ways to win at the breakdown.
3. His demeanour on and off the pitch. He was calm and yet ruthless.
He loved playing rugby. He inspired others around him. I can only say that I facilitated his development in the short time I was coaching him.
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, rugby defence, Rugby Skills, Rugby Training | Tags: jackling, ruck pads, rugby training ideas and tips, tackle bgs, tackle shields, tackle technique
Here is a clip from a company who make tackle shields called Centurion.
There are some interesting ideas on how to utilise bags for tackling and rucking drills.
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby Coaching, Rugby Training | Tags: coaching, planning, reactive coaching
I work hard to be planned for every session. It helps that I write about rugby coaching all the time, so I am in an ideal position to consider my sessions. I also know that I need to do it to write about it. Not every goes to plan though.
As the session goes along, you know that there are “controllables” and “uncontrollables”. A controllable might be timing of the exercises, equipment, your input. Uncontrollables could be the players’ reactions, the weather or injuries.
Reacting to the uncontrollables is a defining part of being a coach. You assimulate the information, and choose how, or even whether to intervene. That intervention can be crucial. “Stop” might be appropriate in a safety issue. It might also be inappropriate in a learning environment. Let the player identify the consequences.
Coaching is sometimes sudden because you have not planned or considered the possible uncontrollable. It is a reaction to a question or action that surprises you. For instance, “Why do I have to do that?” or an attack session turns into a defence session because your defenders cannot be effective enough.
This suddeness is exhilarating. Or scary. Or both. In my mind, it picks the difference between an experienced, balanced coach and someone still learning the ropes. The former might not come up with the best answer, but they will do so far more regularly.
Filed under: Better Rugby Blog Guests, Dan Cottrell | Tags: Bath, goal kicking, kicking
A piece taken from the BBC Sport Website
Williams takes Bath kicking role
Bath have appointed Welshman Rowly Williams as their new kicking coach.
Williams was previously with Wasps and Harlequins. He has also worked in Rugby League with Wigan Warriors.
“I’ll be doing some individual profiling then finding out what their needs and concerns are,” Williams told BBC Radio Bristol.
Head coach Steve Meehan added: “Rowly’s a welcome addition. He has been involved with winning teams. I’m sure that will rub off in a positive way.”
It’s the guys out there doing it. It’s my role to create an environment that allows them to get the best out of themselves
Butch James, Nicky Little, Olly Barkley and Ryan Davis will all benefit from Williams’ knowledge and experience.
Williams intends to develop and improve the individual styles: “I am not some one who believes ‘one size fits all.’
“There is too much going on in the individual dynamic of each player to force him to kick in a particular way.
“I just get them to concentrate on their process so they kick correctly. I will work around the player.
“The credit will always be the players. It’s important to recognise it’s the guys out there doing it.
“It’s my role to create an environment that allows them to get the best out of themselves.”
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby Coaching, Rugby Team Management | Tags: coaching children, competitive rugby, motivating players
From Wednesday through to Sunday, I coached, watched and refereed rugby every day. Not unusual, but I thought I would draw breath to reflect on the three things I learned over those days.
1. Competitive nature is a force on the edge of good
2. Coaching is sometimes sudden
3. Refereeing is a thankless task, despite the thanks
Train as you play is a motto of a number of coaches. It adds pressure and motivates players to work harder. Older players may find themselves “cheating” in training to gain an advantage. How far you go to stop that is an interesting ethical debate.
More worrying, the over competitive child, who cannot control his edge. It can make him win the 50:50 possession, break a tackle, drive over to score. However he can find it difficult to accept losing. This manifests itself in arguing over decisions, whether they are right or wrong.
Striking the balance, for young and old, is a tricky coaching dilemma. Better to be in that situation than have no edge. Hard to manage though.
More on points 2 and 3 over the next few days.
Filed under: Better Rugby Blog Guests, Dan Cottrell, Rugby Coaching | Tags: backline play, deep alignment, Eddie Jones, flat alignment
From the IRB Total Rugby programme, here is Eddie Jones, international coach formerly with Australia and South African back play.
“Well the basic difference in philosophy of backline play is the alignment that the backline sets itself. Generally speaking there are two types of alignment – the flat alignment which Australian sides and sometimes the New Zealand sides play and then you have the deeper wider alignment which the European sides have tended to play.”
On the aims of the flat alignment…
“Australian backlines have always traditionally preferred the flat line of attack where we attempt to fix the 10 and 12 defenders and make sure that they can’t drift quickly. We try to play the ball right at the line, our 10 and 12 have to be very good ball players and then we rely on making their 13 make a decision in terms of who he is going to defend against.”
On the aims of the deep alignment…
Most of the European sides use this. We won’t run it straight, we will tend to drift across the field on this play and what we are relying on is pace on the outside to get around the opposition. This sort of attack increasingly has become more difficult to execute because of the fact that defences are so good at drifting. So sides that have got really quick outside backs can play off a deeper alignment. New Zealand have played like that, where they have had a really fast 11, 13, 15 and 14 where they can actually gas you on the outside.”
On a classic move called the ‘Haileybury’ – one used by the Brumbies…
“What we are trying to do here is to fix the 10 and 12 defender. To make them make that decision. So we are going to take the ball right to the line. Sides over the last 10 years have used it pretty successfully – and South Africa scored a fantastic try against Samoa in their first World Cup game [last year].”
On a classic move called ‘Bulls’… “With the ELVs it’s created exciting opportunities from scrums with the defence back five metres. One of the particularly popular moves from a left-side scrum is being able to attack inside the 10. So here the eight will pick to nine and the nine will then go to the line and attack their 10 and have options off it. This play has got about four or five difference options we can use.”
“In the summer the All Blacks scored a try with Sivivatu off this play. Exactly the same play, chopping back on the inside of the 10, I think it was Hodgson at the time … it’s a very effective play.”
“The beauty of this play is that the base play looks the same, but we can play any number of options there and it’s about the skill of the players to be able to see what the defence is doing and then pick the best option available.”
On the most important element of back play…
“The important thing about backline play in rugby at the moment is to have a consistent philosophy – whether it be a flat line or a deep line – and then be able to execute plays, base plays that have a number of options and to make sure that those plays look the same all the time. The ability to play different options is up to the skill of the players and the decision-making of the players.
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby Coaching, Rugby Skills | Tags: analysis, coaching hints, coaching tips, US rugby, your call
Here is a clip of a US mens rugby game. There are lots of great things going on at this lineout. And some areas you can add some value to the team.
I have spotted five things I can praise and three things I can suggest they can improve.
I will post those answers in a comment later, so you have to think which ones you would praise and which you would improve upon.
One rule: you cannot ask for improvement unless you can find something positive to say first!
Filed under: Better Rugby Blog Guests, Dan Cottrell, Rugby Coaching, Rugby Team Management | Tags: All Blacks, Graham Henry, Peter De Villiers, South Africa, Sprinboks, Steve Hansen
Here is an excellent piece from Voxy, a New Zealand website.
All Blacks Need ‘Full Monty’ Not Marvin The Robot Home ›
Dave Griffith Monday, 14 September, 2009 – 13:48
What has Graham Henry got in common with Marvin the Paranoid Android and General Montgomery? He is all ‘Marvin’ and no ‘Monty’.
In the North African desert during the Second World War, the British 8th Army was on the verge of collapse. The Germans and Italian Afrika Korps under Rommel had driven them back to the Egyptian border. The 8th Army’s men and equipment were as good as the Africa Korps, but they were weak in leadership. None of their previous commanders could outsmart Rommel, and troop morale was low. Plans were already being made to retreat down the Nile River.
The British commanders did a better job of talking up Rommel than Goebbels did, which was quite an achievement. How were soldiers supposed to win when their commanders at all levels kept praising the opposition?
In stepped Montgomery. He wasn’t the first or second choice for the job, but in he came. Immediately he announced that there would be no more retreat. The army would stand and fight where they stood at El Alamein. He set about getting better equipment from the Americans and trained his men in his simple battle plan. Knowing the attack would be renewed soon, he had to get his army to hold the line, and hold it they did. This gave self belief. More men and equipment came in and when the 1000 gun barrage opened up on the Afrika Korps three months later, the 8th Army drove them back all the way to final defeat in Tunisia.
They were not as tactically brilliant as the Afrika Korps, but they played to their strengths and that was good enough to grind out a win. Monty had his faults but his men loved him for believing in them and guiding them to victory.
Douglas Adams gave us Marvin the paranoid android, the ever depressed comical presence in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Marvin’s problem was that he was so smart that he got depressed that he only got to ever use a fraction of his intellectual capacity.
Graham Henry used to be a bit like that. He always gave the impression that he had super intelligence when it came to rugby coaching. Being forced to explain his plans to the media and grass roots rugby fans in terms we could understand was an unnecessary hardship for him. How could mere mortals hope to understand his brilliance?
Graham backed up his ‘superior airs’ with results. Four years ago the All Blacks were the undisputed masters of World Rugby. Then came rotation and conditioning in abundance. Critical voices were swatted away. The Quarter Final exit at the 2007 World Cup should have spelt the end for Henry but he was reappointed. Now two years down the track the All Blacks find themselves comprehensively knocked off the top perch.
Graham has allowed himself to slide into a Marvin like state of fatalistic depression. It took Marvin thousands of years to perfect his depressed state. Graham has achieved it in less than a year. Previously it took Graham months to admit that there was the possibility he had got something wrong. Now he is admitting it at half time in a test match. When it gets to that stage it is no wonder the All Blacks have no confidence left in the game plan. They were out their trying their hardest and the white flag was already being raised.
Faced with defeat the All Blacks threw out the plan and had a go. They almost pulled it off too. I have seen that before in the 2003 Rugby World Cup. The Welsh team coached by Hansen claimed they had no faith in the game plan and went out and had a crack at the All Blacks as a team, only losing in the last 10 minutes.
The All Blacks have the talent but they have been over drilled and tied up in knots. The coaches and Captain spend more time talking up the opposition than ever before in our rugby history. When the focus is on the opposition then we are stuffed before we start.
The High Command at NZRFU needs to admit that the current coaching set-up is no longer working. They need to have the courage to appoint a ‘Montgomery’ style coach. He was a nobody plucked from ‘left field’ who transformed a beaten army into a winning one by believing in them, giving them a battle plan that played to their strengths and training them to carry it out.
Peter de Villiers for all his theatrics has done just that. He has created a good team environment, with a game plan the players believe in, and the results have come.
There are good coaches in New Zealand rugby who would do a better job than the current set-up. It is time one of them was given a chance.
Playing Donald out of position at second five echoed past position switch failures like Christian Cullen at centre in the 1999 World Cup and Leon MacDonald at centre in the 2003 World Cup. Steven Donald wasn’t experienced enough for the second five role. There are a number of good second fives in kiwi rugby, but instead we put in a player out of position. This gave the Springboks an instant weak link to exploit – which they did.
Graham, when I listen to you and all I hear is Marvin the robot telling me how great the Springboks are and what the All Blacks failed to do. It signals that its time you went and coached Italy.
For the All Blacks fans we need to see the ‘Full Monty’. Give us a coach who believes in his players and the core values of All Black rugby. We don’t care if he hasn’t coached Wales before, we just want someone who believes they can win and has got a plan to achieve it. Like the players we will follow. Win or lose it has got to be better than this.
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby Coaching, Rugby Skills | Tags: rugby equipment, tackling
What do we think of this? A rugby tackling aid which might just be something more than a fun roundaround toy.
I need to test one out myself.
For more details contact: