Rugby Coaching Blog | Professional Rugby Advice & Coaching

Some great pre season team building ideas here by David Clarke

Here is a team building exercise video. Obviously you can use the equipment they provide, but some of them are generic too.

Remember: rugby is a dynamic game of changing situations and these exercises can build rugby mental strength.


Day fourteen of the August pre season training: game plan by David Clarke

August 14

Game plan

Half way through pre season training and your game plan for the first few games should be taking shape.
Think of a game plan as a list of what you do and when. Instead of the players making it up on the spot, they know that from various parts of the pitch they will run certain moves.
There are many ways to design a game plan and even more game plans you can have.
However, you will want to start running through these plans on the pitch from now on in.

Here is a simple plan for you to develop:
1. Exiting the 22m area. How are we going to move the ball away from the 22m area and out of danger. Think about kicking, scrums (back row move?) and lineout calls.

2. Putting on pressure between the 22m areas. How are we going to use the ball between the 22m lines to gain ground or force opposition errors. Again, think about kicking, where to attack, what moves from set pieces. Some teams play “phase, phase, break or kick”. If they cannot break down the opposition defence after two phases, they kick deep.

3. Scoring in their 22m area. What are our killer scoring plays? Which lineout can we use for a catch and drive, a scrum back row move, and a backs move to split the defence.

4. How do we defend?

5. How do we counterattack?

Better Rugby Coaching

Day ten of the August pre season training tips: lineout by David Clarke

August 10


Pre season for the lineout is about building a lineout for the season, and not the finished product. You will have more variations after three months and even more by the end of the season.

Here are five tips for pre season:
1. Focus on winning front ball first. This means a fast jump.
2. Can your players actually jump? Not just the “jumpers” but all the players. Jumping is explosive, so everyone needs to be able to do it.
3. Work on “throw-jump”. That is the hooker throws and then the jumper jumps. This will test both early on.
4. Play jumping games for the ball, so the players get used to competition for the ball.
5. Can your jumpers jump without “bouncing” first? If they can, it will help them beat their opposite number into the air. It also means the lifters (if you use them), will have to be sharper on the lift.

Better Rugby Coaching

Day 2 of August training tips by David Clarke

August 2

Games for fitness

Players like to play.

If pre season is sprinkled with games, then players will be motivated to turn up.

Here are five points to make games worthwhile

1. Make it competitive. Select teams, keep scores and remember them.
2. Make it “rugby relevant”. Identify the rugby skills in the game.
3. Ensure consistent refereeing. Be a tough referee, so adding legitimacy.
4. Use small teams. Let the players have plenty of action and no place to hide. Play two games at once if possible.
5. Don’t have too many non rugby rules. Players will spend too long mastering the rules and not playing the game.

Better Rugby Coaching

Rugby pre-season conditioning: keeping the form by David Clarke


There are too many “beach” fitness gurus around these days and not enough true sports’ fitness experts. By beach fitness I mean people who will tell you how to look great on the sand this summer but don’t know whether it will help you last 80 minutes on the rugby field.


The other week I had the pleasure of meeting someone who is at the cutting edge of fitness. Chris Jones trains Olympic triathletes and his services are in demand all around the world for high performance coaching.


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