Rugby Coaching Blog | Professional Rugby Advice & Coaching


What is your rugby coaching priority? by David Clarke

Coaching across all the age ranges gives you a good view of how players develop.

It is exciting, scary and frustrating.

If you have been on the coaching courses, then you will be well aware of the Long Term Athlete Development programme, or Player (see my debate on coaching players not athletes).

What the programme does tell you: build the level of competition gradually through the formative years so players pick up the skills.

What the programme does not tell you: you will come up against teams who ignore the programme, play a “winning” version of the game, don’t rotate their players and just give the ball to the big fast kid.

In these circumstances it can be tough to keep to what you believe in, if indeed you believe in development. My sense is that most people who read this blog fall into the development category, though are pretty competitive all the same and want to win more than they lose. I don’t see a problem in this. It is harder to lose and look for positives than win and have regrets.

Your priorities are tougher to define, because they are not based purely on results. You should have aims though. And those aims must be threefold.

Firstly, you should have a personal ambition. Where do you want to see yourself as a person in three to four years time. Your personal development is fundamental to what ever coaching you do.

Secondly, you should have a long term “team” ambition. That shapes how you train and prepare your team.

And lastly, and perhaps most difficult to implement because of the time involved, an aim for each player. Just saying that “I want every player to be able to pass of both hands by the end of the season” is too general. Players develop at such different rates that you need to have flexibility.

If you can work on the last aim, then brilliant. The second aim is probably already fixed in your mind. So your rugby coaching priority should be YOU and what you can do to improve.

Better Rugby Coaching

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