Rugby Coaching Blog | Professional Rugby Advice & Coaching

A million press ups for that by David Clarke
August 28, 2008, 8:11 am
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby Coaching, Rugby Training | Tags: , , ,

1,2,3,4…no, proper ones

A familar call on the rugby training ground. A misdeamour of minor proportions, perhaps a dropped ball or a missed tackle. The result, press ups (or round the posts and back).

Don’t think for one moment I am going to say that mistakes should not be highlighted, pointed out or even commented on harshly. It is how they are then dealt with which causes an interesting debate.

“Punishment” is not a good word to use – I found this out very early on in the Rugby Coach Newsletter issues when the RFU quickly slapped my wrists for using the word (and the “punishment” mentioned).

In which case, you need a way to ENCOURAGE the players not to make the same mistake twice.

Let me take a step back first.

We want our players to train. Train to improve their skills and train to become fitter.

If we want to encourage our players to be better, then they should be motivated to do this for themselves. Extra passing practice means better passers, extra running practice means better runners, extra press ups means…

So it has been suggested that using press ups as a penalty sends a negative message to the players about press ups. It is like saying “finish your vegetables if you want some ice cream for desserts”. Some children have never recovered from the trauma of eating cabbage and swedes.

Or perhaps we should be using cabbage and swede in training instead.


3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Using cabbages and suedes might be a good idea. I use variuos types of balls for passing practice in different shapes and sizes it brings better concentration to what can be BORING practices.

Comment by Mark

An excellent idea!

Comment by admin

It might have indeed been traumatic to be told to eat Swedes, I am sure their Nordic cousins would be equally traumatised. Almost as bad as eating one’s brussels. Eating suedes must have been inspired by Charlie Chaplin…

On a serious note, players KNOW when they have made mistakes, punishments are not really necessary – unless the level of motivation is not high enough, and that points to other problems. In a game, if someone (say) drops the ball, it usually means that team has to move further away from the target area (try line), so do the same in practice. Urge them to react to the miss – “Arghh – dropped ball, get back onside, defensive line (or whatever the consequence might be)!!!”

Press up are too good an exercise (especially for young players) to be viewed as negative. Tell players you don’t want to see their collar bones in two months. Ask them to do press ups last thing in the day – before the evening shower, or whatever. Ask the players to find out how many they can do max. Then, next day, do 10 sets, starting with their max, subtracting one each time (so if the max is 20, the sets are 20, 19, 18, 17, and so on). Pretty soon, they will be stronger in the shoulders and core region, and pretty positive about doing them. As they do more, they will do them better (because we enjoy what we do well), and so on and so on. You could even have a “championship” if that works for you and the players……

Comment by Steve Johnson

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