Rugby Coaching Blog | Professional Rugby Advice & Coaching

Seven captains for seven players by David Clarke

Something rare happened for me this weekend.

I had exactly right number of players for my under 8s match. Any coach who has the pleasure of coaching young players will know that often much of the game is spent organising the substitutions. Seven-a-side and seven players – no need for swapping players on and off. It is tag rugby, so little chance of injuries as well.

So I felt I could try a little experiment with captaincy and allow everyone a slice of the responsibility.

It was one boy’s birthday, so he was the captain. That meant he called the toss of the coin and shouting the three cheers at the end. Another boy was vice captain.

Five other places to fill. Defensive captain went to my son. He nodded in agreement (phew! he often wants to be captain). He would set the line. I then turned to the others.

During the training week we had focused on “filling the field”, “running onto the first pass” and “not standing too close to the first passer”. Three further captains emerged, each in charge of those roles. Finally, the last boy. He was in charge of passing before being tagged.

A reminder before each section of the game and we had 7 and 8 year olds with responsibilities. Another boy had come to watch his mates. He became the “physio”, though I would add he did not carry out any medical treatment.

It could be seen as semantics, but I found that this process created a rugby team bond. Not easy with players this young, but the last huddle and shout before we played each quarter was together and focused. And more telling, the tries were greeted with pats on the back. Rarely seen at this age.

Whether I can repeat this again remains to be seen. We won as well, which did not test the theory in some ways. But I am looking forward to developing it and questioning the players about their roles.

Dan, Better Rugby Coaching Editor


1 Comment so far
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Great idea. Starting a youth side this summer, maybe try to put this into practice.

Comment by Rich

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