Rugby Coaching Blog | Professional Rugby Advice & Coaching

Active catching, less dropped passes by David Clarke
February 27, 2009, 9:08 am
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby Skills | Tags: , , ,

Here is a rugby top tip that should improve your rugby players’ catching skills.

Most of us know that you need have your hands ready to catch the ball. A “W” shape for instance.

However try getting your players to point their fingers towards the ball.
1. It means there is flex in the fingers as the ball arrives. The hand lifts up as the ball arrives.
2. Keeps the ball in the fingers and off the palms, giving more control.
3. Tends to push the elbows away from the body, leaving less chance for the ball onto the chest and easy movement of the arms.

Active catching

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Are you coaching enough rugby passing options by David Clarke

Look at this picture below and you can tell that none of the normal passing options are on. There is no one around for a flat or deep lateral pass, so the player is either go to have to take contact or manufacture a pass.
Woodford RFC v Southend RFC

The challenge is set up this type of game situation to help players make those decisions and discover which pass works best.
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An inspirational coaching decision by David Clarke

Watch this video and think about the role of the coach.

As rugby coaches, we have a chance to make a real difference. But it is the player who makes it happen…


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Level 1 rugby course (day one and two) by David Clarke
February 23, 2009, 10:51 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

What a rugby coaching weekend. Friday night was the first evening of a Level 1 course as a tutor, Saturday all day, coaching with the Welsh Women’s National Squad and Sunday, the second part of the Level 1.

It has been tiring, but exhilarating. And all those who I have been tutoring will tell you that I have already said the word that I didn’t want to say. More on that later.

Here are some of my reflections.

1. I delivered a presentation on “children in rugby and child protection”. It is more than a “I must listen because it’s my duty” session. Many key points came out which are worth remembering.

For me, it is the amount of contact you can have with the child, and by that I mean physical contact. Running around on the field with them can be dangerous for instance. We also debated holding tackle shields, and physical demonstrations.

2. On Saturday we worked on a number of areas of concern for the Welsh team. The mood was good, given the famous victory the previous weekend against England. However there was a good sense of focus on the coming fixture with France.

A lot of our exercises aimed to improve the intensity of training. One way was to make the players “self correct” as the drills worked through. Instead of lots of stop/start, feedback was on-the-go.

The coach hinted at and identified good and bad play and allowed the players to suggest solutions, as they moved from the end of one attempt to the start of the next. Far more activity and the players were empowered to coach themselves.

3. On Sunday, back on the Level 1 course, the coaches had their first chance to show their “how to coach” skills.

As part of my group, we had to cover warm up, 2 v 1, footwork skills and pass and catch. I did not coach one piece of skill throughout the morning. I showed the group one set up of cones to help the sidestep and that was it.

By questioning, I let them set up and coach all the skills. I was delighted with their response and in the afternoon, their more formal coaching sessions were very good.

What word was I trying not to say (and didn’t do too well at I must admit): “but”. Perhaps someone might like to tell us I was not trying to say “but”?

Better Rugby Coaching

Getting ready for a Level 1 course by David Clarke
February 20, 2009, 10:36 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I am tutoring on a Level 1 course tonight. I am looking forward to it (as always) and have been charged with delivery of the module on “Working with children”.

There are so many issues involved in this area. The course quite rightly talks about enjoyment and safe environments.

However it does not have time to explore the most common problems:
1. Differing motivations of children at training – for example some lazy, some over zealous, some never listening and some always silly.
2. Coaching after school
3. What the children’s game should look like.

I shall be biting my lip over some things, because the course is all about the new coach and not me “telling” them how to do it.

There are always great questions though. I shall report back on Monday!

Better Rugby Coaching

Why rugby players are not athletes by David Clarke
February 18, 2009, 1:03 pm
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby Coaching

I think some coaches get confused. They call their rugby players athletes. Does that mean that athletes are rugby players too? Of course not.

They can share some attributes and training regimes, but we must be careful not to lump them together.

Better Rugby Coaching

Are we watching the same games? by David Clarke
February 17, 2009, 1:53 pm
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby Coaching | Tags: , ,

About five years ago I heard Brian Ashton, former England and Ireland coach, talking about game analysis. He said that he never liked to comment on the game until he had seen the video replays.

Now that was a top coach talking. How are most club coaches meant to deal with the minutae of the game without access to tapes, analysis and, let’s face it, time.

Snapshot judgements often don’t allow us to reflect on what really happened. A missed tackle can be for a variety of reasons. Can we piece them together or do we just remember the player falling away as the ball carrier went through?

I am currently reviewing a game from the weekend and it does seem that I was watching a different match. I can describe the emotional events clearly. But there are too many nuances that have passed me by.

I was disciplined in my approach to watching during the game. I was tasked with looking at the opposition attacking options and ways around their defence. I think my analysis was about right at the time. However ask me to comment on our clearing out at rucks and I have to resort to the video and stats.

Simply, you need to concentrate on a few things only to get a clear pitch, or say that you can only get a feel if you decide to watch the whole thing.