Rugby Coaching Blog | Professional Rugby Advice & Coaching

What we can learn from video games by David Clarke
June 28, 2011, 4:37 pm
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby Coaching, Rugby Training | Tags: , , ,

We find our kids spend too much time on them, become addicted to them and end up with pasty white faces…the curse of the video game.

But we can learn plenty from the kids “playing video games” for our own coaching.
1. Why do they play on them for so long
Because they are competitive. The players keep wanting more.
Lesson: players like to play and they enjoy a challenge.
2. They can make mistakes and not feel bad
“Game over” and start again is the worst they can hear.
Lesson: players know when they have made a mistake – don’t make a fuss, let them start again.
3. Practice makes perfect
They keep playing, experimenting and improving – the finger and eye coordination is breathtaking.
Lesson: think about the practice environment – they are playing a game, learning from their mistakes and working out how to solve the problems themselves.
4. No manuals, no help?
To start the game, they may use a brief tutorial, but then plunge straight in. However, they will want tips, cheats and shortcuts. They get this from their friends and surfing websites.
Lesson: be a port of call for problem solving, not just someone who tells them what to do. They will ask when they are ready – are you ready for them to ask?

Dan Cottrell


Cipriani is a long legged fly half by David Clarke
November 24, 2008, 2:53 pm
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby Coaching | Tags: , ,

High profile players inevitably draw the most attention. Danny Cipriani, the England fly half, is certainly one. He has had three charged down kicks leading to tries in his six internationals.

Longer legs than Johnny!

Not a great strike rate. But his problem is common to fly halves who are long legged. He needs to adjust his kicking style to accommodate the longer levers when clearing the ball.

In normal circumstances, he will receive the ball in time to strike it with no pressure. However when he receives a poor pass with a defender bearing down on him, he should consider the following:

1. Half a stride steps to kick rather than normal steps.

2. Kick at an angle and not straight downfield.

3. Drop the ball from a lower height.

4. Run sideways to step into the kick and not run upfield.

And use my kicking practice from the Coaching Rugby manual, a video of which is out on Friday!

The pros and cons of using international games to coach by David Clarke
November 10, 2008, 9:59 am
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, ELVs, Rugby Training | Tags: , , ,

Can we translate what we see on the TV in international games into meaningful outcomes for our own teams? The simple answer could be no. Especially if you are running an under 8s tag team on a Sunday.


However there are some pros and cons.


Pros of using international games for your coaching


Sometimes international teams will use a move you have not seen before. With small modifications you can this same move for your team.



We all aspire to play for our country or even coach them, and though the moment may have passed many of us by, we can gain much from listening to how the international coaches talk about their teams.


Points of reference

Using international games as examples is an easy way of helping our players visualise what we mean. A particular tackle or defensive alignment means more if the players have seen it performed at the top level.


Cons of using international games for your coaching 


The international teams have so much more time to practise the moves you might see on the TV. You can never have this luxury, so you need to be careful what elements you want to reproduce.


Refereeing differences

The quality of referees at the top level is different. Techniques that work in an international game may not be acceptable at lower levels because the referees are looking at other priorities.



A brilliant move may only work because the teams have the strength, speed and skill to perform them. This also goes for some of the close quarter techniques in rucks. I would especially highlight “sealing” manoeuvres, because the top level players are enormously strong across the shoulders and neck. They can take up very low positions and be far safer from injury that less experienced players.