Rugby Coaching Blog | Professional Rugby Advice & Coaching

A different space in rugby coaching by David Clarke

We understand the word “space” to mean something where there is nothing. In rugby, it is where there is no defence.

In rugby coaching, it has a deeper meaning and you might be utilising this space already.

I am thinking about space in rugby coaching delivery. Giving the players space to consider their actions and evaluate the solutions. Creating that space in the first instance means shutting up, standing back, allowing a player or players to discuss.

We can create better “space” by building an environment where different players can express themselves in different ways. Instead of getting the players to just answer questions verbally, you can get them to show you.

This week I asked some players to tell me where to attack the defender. The more lucid talked about “inside shoulders” or “weak shoulders”, perhaps “branches, twigs and trunks”. Others stood back, worried they would not know the jargon.

I changed my approach, stood back and said to a quieter player: “Show us”.

I know that many of you do this without thinking. However it did make me “think” how I can create more space for the players to express themselves and how I can remove the walls that enclose them. “Show me” is different to “Tell me”.  And instead of “Show me”, why not “Experiment”? A little less intimidating to a more nervous because their demostration might not work, and that doesn’t matter so much since it is an experiment.

How does it work for you?

1 Comment so far
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Exactly right. We’ve been working on finding space at practice, and I too, work on giving my players space. Allowing them to make mistakes and analyze how they overcome those mistakes, rather than focusing on the mistake itself.

I think the more we can put on the player – to show / tell how, what, why they make a decision – the better players and people they’ll become.

I also have a blog about coaching rugby that I just began tonight.



Comment by joshuaryoung

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