Rugby Coaching Blog | Professional Rugby Advice & Coaching

Top flanker cleanout drill by David Clarke
November 29, 2010, 10:06 am
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby Drills | Tags: , , , ,

A very simple rucking drill from George Smith, posted on the eliterugbycoaching Youtube page.

Easy to set up and observe, so you can concentrate on the developing the key points of the ruck cleanout.

Better Rugby Coaching

A tale of two coaches (part two) by David Clarke
November 15, 2010, 8:07 pm
Filed under: A tale of two coaches, Dan Cottrell | Tags: , ,

Last time we found Phil and Doug had taken on their respective son’s Tag teams. Both had played some rugby, though Phil had concentrated on playing squash whilst Doug had continued on for a few more years. Both their sons were better players in their teams and each had, reluctantly initially, decided to take on the role of head coach.

Let’s look at Phil’s first few months. He is handed the “file” at the end of the season. What with work and other commitments, he has not had much chance to assess what is happening until June (with the season starting in September). He gets a call from the club coordinator, asking him if he will be at the junior meeting next Tuesday.

After about half an hour of searching on the Sunday before the meeting, he finally finds the file and discovers four pieces of paper in poly pockets. He has nine registered players from last season, though he was sure there were more at the end of season tournament. He asks his son (Rory) and they work out there are at least another seven players – though Rory is pretty frank about who is good and who is bad!

He rings up last year’s coach, who is suitably vague about numbers and says his son is playing soccer next season anyway. One registered player down.

Phil decides to look up the age grade guidelines on the internet, but finds it difficult to navigate to where he needs to find out the information. To be fair to the governing body, Phil is pretty lost about what he is looking for anyway. But he is starting to realise that it will not just be a case of turning and running through a few drills.

Arriving at the club on Tuesday, he seeks out Nigel, the club coordinator. Nigel reassures him immediately about the “admin”, and says they can have a look at “things” over a pint after the junior meeting.

The junior meeting is everything one expects from a junior meeting. The chair keeps to the agenda whilst three more vocal coaches seem intent on raising issues which are three points ahead of the agenda. But Phil feels that the coaches are very much like him, dads and mums with sons who want to play rugby. He looks around the club room and sees pictures and shirts from players who have made it to representative teams. He wonders whether Rory might be one of those.

Suddenly he realises he is being asked a direct question: “Phil, can we book you onto a Rugby Ready course in July or August?”

“I will need to check with my diary and of course the controller of the diary!” says Phil as he takes out his personal organiser.

“It’s okay, the club pays for all the courses, but in this case it’s free and only for three hours.”

Phil puts a date into his diary.

The meeting ends and Phil meets up with Nigel, and two other coaches who are starting this year. After going through “admin” on health and safety, club child protection, Phil asks about playing numbers.

“You will need to go on a recruitment drive” says Nigel. “We have a club day at the start of the season, but you will have to encourage boys and girls to come down here”

“Girls?” says Phil.

“Yes, most of the teams up to 11 have at least a couple of girls involved.”

Phil is surprised by his own fear of coaching girls. Rory has a younger brother and he has only had brothers himself. This will be another challenge.

Nigel offers him some further advice: “Get yourself on a Level 1 course as soon as possible, it will help you organise your coaching far better. And, even more importantly, get some help!”

Frankly, Phil is shattered by his undertaking. He has a pile of paper to go through and fill in, he has to recruit or register enough players to make a team, he has to organise himself to get on these courses, plus he needs to find some “help”. He is starting to regret saying yes at the end of last season.

How about Doug, the other dad and coach? He was asked to coach his son’s team at lunchtime on the Sunday of the last day of the season. By the evening, he has already recruited two of his son’s best mates from school who were playing soccer and spoken to his business partner about sponsoring the team for next year.

Part three soon.

Better Rugby Coaching

Wales coach Gatland on international management by David Clarke
November 12, 2010, 9:31 am
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby Coaching, Rugby Team Management | Tags: , , ,

This is an excellent insight into the modern coaching methods of an international coach. Warren Gatland tells a leadership training site ( how he approaches his players. Like many coaches of the top teams, he says he is surprisingly hands off. He wants the players to make the decisions – he wants to empower them so there is mutual trust.

Listen to his frank interview by going to this website. You have to register, but there is plenty of good management content to view and it is free.

Better Rugby Coaching