Rugby Coaching Blog | Professional Rugby Advice & Coaching


100 Q&A: How can I get the pre match talk just right? by David Clarke

lions team talk
In response to a question on the Better Rugby Coaching forum, The Huddle, here are five top tips on “talking the talking” so the players can “walk the walk” onto the pitch for the game.

1. Speak from the heart

You must be convinced in what you are saying if you are going to convince the players. Anything you say must be said with uttter belief. This will come across in your body language, tone of voice and facial expression.

2. Speak about the here and now

Your team talk needs to focus on what happens next. It keeps the players in the present, concentrating on the tasks in hand. Don’t become focus on two weeks’ time or the end of the season, think about what needs to be achieved in the 80 minutes.

3. Focus on what you do well, not on your weaknesses

Build the players up with their strengths. Say how they can exploit these strengths in the game. It is also an idea to focus on a more mechanical aspect of the game where it is easy to see progress – say tackling. “We are going to knock them back in the tackle, not let them move without one of us on top of them.”

4. Speak to the individual when addressing the team

All the players will have dominant goals which they focus on more than other things in the game. It might be the team, winning or enjoyment. In your team talk mention all these aspects, within a logical plan. This helps each player put himself in the context of the game.

5. Be a modified self

Some of us are louder than others, some more reserved. If we go to an extreme, we lose sense of what we personally stand for. Let your team talk be just that. A talk. Not a whisper, not a shout. It doesn’t need to be long, or even that eloquent. Your personal passion will be enough. And remember it is the players who are taking the pitch not you. You don’t need to be fired up. You don’t need to talk about “you”, you need to talk about them.

Better Rugby Coaching

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