Rugby Coaching Blog | Professional Rugby Advice & Coaching

How to take command of a rugby training session by David Clarke

Who is the most difficult audience to deal with?

Here are some factors that can cause you problems:

1. The players are tired.

2. The players have already been “coached” during the day.

3. The players have a low concentration span.

4. The players are not playing at the weekend.

5. The players are young.

And so the list eventually leads to my under 9s team! And having to coach them last night.

Having worked with two groups of elite players in the last few weeks in my roles at U16 backs coach for the Ospreys and now an attached coach with the Welsh Women, a blustering late Wednesday afternoon is a little different on a damp parks pitch.

How did I take command?

With the agreement of the other coaches, after the warm up, we split as usual into three groups, did seven minute segments of skills and then went into a game.

And we shut up! It was hard. We only gave small doses of praise and bit our lips. No shouts of “Pass”, “Tackle”, “Get lower” or “Run straight”.

After each try or big breakdown, we gave some feedback, asked some questions and let them play.

It was strangely eerie. But what it did allow us to watch and observe and reflect. One observation is that we are going to make the teams smaller in practice games to make sure all the players are more involved.

So to take command of a rugby training session, here are two suggestions:

1. Break up the training into manageable segments and the same with the groups.

2. Say less, watch more, intervene effectively.