Rugby Coaching Blog | Professional Rugby Advice & Coaching


Turn it into a game by David Clarke

Richard GrahamI have just read an interview with the new Australian skills coach, Richard Graham, who is just finishing at Saracens. The full interview can be read at the greenandgoldrugby.com blog.

One of the main ways he coaches rugby skills is to use “skills games” whereby the skills are used in game situations. If a player is struggling with the skill, then he is taken to the side to work on the skill before returning to the game.

On Wednesday we launched our new book 48 Rugby Skills Games . (Follow that link to download a couple of free examples).We know that Wayne Smith, the assistant coach with All Blacks, uses skills games, also England conditioning coaches employ them and from this latest article, the Australian side too.

The interest in the book has come from all around the world. I know from my own experience of playing and coaching that I prefer to play a game and so do the players. And there are plenty of learning benefits as well.

It is worth noting that Graham was one of the greats of sevens rugby in the late 90s.

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Wayne Smith, All Black coach, inspires by David Clarke

Wayne Smith
Last night I was at a seminar at the Ospreys where Wayne Smith talked about decision making. Wayne is currently the “backs” coach for the All Blacks, though this title is vague in the sense of the range of work he does with the team.

His message is simple: decision makers have make their own decisions, so give them to power to make them.

He does this through a range of mediums, with questioning and games as the key pillars in his approach.

He is also a man who invites integrity and displays an outward calmness. His measured presentation recognised the difficulties that any team faces, even one as talented as the New Zealand team. It is not by talent alone that the All Blacks are regarded as the number one team to beat.

I took eight pages of notes.
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No more empty words by David Clarke
February 4, 2009, 3:23 pm
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby Team Management | Tags: , ,

I am bombarded with quotations on how to motivate players and coaches. Some work for me and others seem like a clever way of something that does not mean much.

Sometimes you have to read the line several times to see what it really means and then look at who wrote it.

Here is one such quote:

“People will rise to a challenge if it is their challenge”

It was said by Wayne Smith, the All Black backs coach. That gives it weight in the first place, but what of the meaning?

Rising to the challenge is motivational. A target set and a player striving to get there.

The key here is the word “their”, in terms of “their challenge”. It means taking ownership of what they want to acheive. They have either agreed with their coach or mentor what the challenge is, or set it themselves. Empowerment leads to responsibility and greater awareness of the goal. It should be more powerful.

No empty words, and real action should follow.