Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby Coaching, Rugby News, Uncategorized | Tags: Better Rugby Coaching, brian smith, earnshaw, Rugby Coaching, Tony Hanks
Been away from the blog for a little while, though not stopped interviewing, writing and producing materials. This month alone I have been putting together articles with Brian Smith, Didier Retiere, Denis Betts, Russell Earnshaw, Tony Hanks, Justin Bishop and Richard Graham. Plus welcomed on board the Rugby Weekly Team two great new grassroots coaches who are coaching tutors and mentors.
Coaching wise I have been working with three teams, all with different cultures, ambitions and outcomes. Plus I have been speaking to lots of you about the ups and downs of coaching.
Look forward to catching with you over the Xmas period and writing about what is happening in the rugby coaching world.
Filed under: Better Rugby Blog Guests, Rugby Coaching, Rugby Drills, Rugby Training | Tags: lineouts, Rugby Coaching, training time for rugby
If as a coach you were asked if you would give no input or coaching time to 25% of your side’s opportunities to win the ball, what would your answer be?
If I asked you if you would consider not bothering to practice opportunities to take ball legitmately from the oppostion, what might your answer be?
I would guess that you would be very unlikely to agree that these areas were worthy of consideration. I would imagine that you would answer that of course you wouldn’t ignore a quarter of opprtunities to win the ball, or ways to take the ball away from the opposing team.
So how much time at practice do you spend on your lineout development?
As coaches especially at child, youth and amateur levels our contact time with players is limited, often only 90 minutes a week, maybe double that if we are lucky over two sessions. It is especially difficult to achieve as much as we would like if we are the sole coach. These caveats notwithstanding however, it often seems that many sides spend little time on their lineout, and what does happen tends to be the forwards practising what they already do, compounded by little effort made to emulate a match day lineout with defending jumpers or time pressures.
The reasons, especially at age group levels, are understandable. Finding the time to fit in a session between warm-up, cool down, individual, unit and team skills is hard enough, not forgetting the pressing urgency at young age groups to also ensure that scrummage and post-tackle contest (ruck and maul) is practiced if only for player safety reasons. Allied to which may be the lack of understanding of the coaches themselves; if they never played in the forwards, are a convert from another sport or played when lineouts were very different how can they be expected to meaningfully coach this area?
It is not unusual to come across teenage age group teams that have no lineout plans, whether attacking or defending, and limited lineout skills. Jumping and timing with an accurate throw, options after the catch and defensive tactics are often not clearly in existence. Even at senior levels, it’s a case of “same old stuff” week after week.
So – when you are planning your next sessions for your squad, are you going to ignore, overlook or pay scant regard to 25% of your side’s chances of winning the ball? Or will you be thinking about your side’s lineout?
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby Coaching, Rugby Fitness, Rugby Training | Tags: Better Rugby Coaching, conditioning, fitness, Rugby Coaching, Rugby Drills, stretching, warm ups
I am going to be a little controversial here. You don’t need to warm up.
There I said it.
Actually, you need to change the mindset to “preparing to train or play”. The mind and body need to be switched into action. That cannot be done immediately. Spend some time gradually building up the intensity.
What needs to be in your pre season warm up (last time I use that expression in this piece)
1. A game (like touch rugby or rugby netball) – this will get players onto the pitch quicker.
2. Some raising of the heart rate – this can be done in a game.
3. An increase in mental arousal – to put players in the right frame of mind (again can be done in a game).
4. Some movements and contact which start to replicate the exercises ahead.
5. A minute or two for players to “stretch” themselves if they want to. Players who are stiff or recovering from injury might use this time to activate their muscles. Others will simply run around with a ball.
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby Coaching, Rugby Skills, Rugby Team Management, Rugby Training | Tags: Better Rugby Coaching, game planning, pre-season, Rugby Coaching, Rugby Tactics
Half way through pre season training and your game plan for the first few games should be taking shape.
Think of a game plan as a list of what you do and when. Instead of the players making it up on the spot, they know that from various parts of the pitch they will run certain moves.
There are many ways to design a game plan and even more game plans you can have.
However, you will want to start running through these plans on the pitch from now on in.
Here is a simple plan for you to develop:
1. Exiting the 22m area. How are we going to move the ball away from the 22m area and out of danger. Think about kicking, scrums (back row move?) and lineout calls.
2. Putting on pressure between the 22m areas. How are we going to use the ball between the 22m lines to gain ground or force opposition errors. Again, think about kicking, where to attack, what moves from set pieces. Some teams play “phase, phase, break or kick”. If they cannot break down the opposition defence after two phases, they kick deep.
3. Scoring in their 22m area. What are our killer scoring plays? Which lineout can we use for a catch and drive, a scrum back row move, and a backs move to split the defence.
4. How do we defend?
5. How do we counterattack?
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby Coaching, Rugby Skills, Rugby Training, top tips | Tags: Better Rugby Coaching, games for rugby, pre-season, Rugby Coaching, Rugby Skills, Rugby Training
Games for fitness
Players like to play.
If pre season is sprinkled with games, then players will be motivated to turn up.
Here are five points to make games worthwhile
1. Make it competitive. Select teams, keep scores and remember them.
2. Make it “rugby relevant”. Identify the rugby skills in the game.
3. Ensure consistent refereeing. Be a tough referee, so adding legitimacy.
4. Use small teams. Let the players have plenty of action and no place to hide. Play two games at once if possible.
5. Don’t have too many non rugby rules. Players will spend too long mastering the rules and not playing the game.
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby Coaching, Rugby Skills, Rugby Training, top tips | Tags: Crusaders, handling skills, passing, Rugby Coaching
Though these drills/exercises can be done at any time of the season, this set of exercises are ideal as part of the skill development phase of your preseason training.
Taken from the Crusader R80 series.
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby Coaching | Tags: All Blacks, coaching a smaller team, John Kirwan, Rugby Coaching
All Black legend John Kirwan, who also coached Italy, reveals how he aims to make Japan more successful on the international stage, despite their relative size disadvantage.
Filed under: Better Rugby Blog Guests, Dan Cottrell, Rugby Coaching | Tags: analysis, Australia, England, Greenandgoldrugby.com, Luke Burgess, ruck defence, Rugby Coaching, Will Genia
Our friends at Green and Gold Rugby do not hold back from making “jokes” at the expense of players and countries. BUT, their analysis is forthright and interesting. We can all learn from the way they pick out the strengths and weaknesses of players, so we can pass on these thoughts to our own.
I know this analysis is “after” the event for us, but it makes interesting viewing in light of the fact that England won the subsequent game 20-21. The GGR guys point out the contribution of Burgess at 9 in the first game where Australia won. Interestingly, Will Genia played in the second!
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby Coaching, Rugby Skills, Rugby Team Management | Tags: Rugby Coaching, rugby drill tips, rugby interviews, rugby top tips, rugby training tips, session timings
The rugby world never sleeps. There is always some rugby being practised or played every day of the year.
I am in the UK, so we are counting down to the start of the season. It seems strange since the Lions have only just got back, the Tri Nations is in full flow, as well as Currie Cups and other competitions around the world.
Last week I was on the road a lot, hence no blogs, and I managed to interview some very interesting people. Their thoughts will be coming out soon, but what struck was the clarity of their vision. Simple ideas, constructive sessions and player focused.
Here are a couple of thoughts for those counting down to the season, or those looking for something a little different:
1. If there is one skill you could improve now, what would it be?
Think about the detail of that skill, think how you might want to improve it. In exercising that skill and putting it into game situations, the players will benefit from a detailed approach AND all the complementary skills that go with it. Handling needs footwork, balance and decision making. Tackling needs footwork, balance and decision making. A handling drill needs tackling to make it real. And so you are working on the detail, the game and the core skills.
2. How well do you know your players?
Can you find something new about each player that you never knew before? By asking the question and being genuinely interested in the answer, you build another bridge to their thoughts and learning.
3. Can you increase the players activity time in training by 10%?
Over a 90 minute session, it is possible to make the players work for 9 minutes more than a normal session. How? First, cut in half the time you spend explaining and feeding back. Put the drills up on a board before the session. Feed back during the drill to individuals. Finish with a succinct round up and move on. Second, put all the water and kit centrally, so there is no need to go so far to fetch anything. Third allocate groupings before training starts. It might be several combinations, like groups of eight or pairs, or teams for the final game.
Do this and you will find 9 minutes of extra activity, if you are not doing this already!