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Dear {sForename},

Training plans can quickly find their way into the bin if there is some sort of foul up on the day. Lack of numbers, bad weather or unavailable equipment are all possible scenarios that can scupper a well-planned session.

However, lesser problems are sometimes just as frustrating. Odd numbers at training can make it difficult to involve all the players at one time. In the next Rugby Coach Weekly, published on Wednesday February 17, Ian Diddams has some great solutions for this problem.

In the meantime, this issue focuses on some ideas for training sessions when things are not quite going to plan.

Yours in rugby,

Dan Cottrell, Editor

Rugby Coaching Tips and Advice
Issue number 355
Monday, 15 February 2010

  • COACHING SESSIONS: How to survive training with no balls (Colin Ireland)

  • GAME ANALYSIS: Tips and techniques for analysing your game


  • My recommendation: Key skills under pressure

  • The Huddle: Benefit from simple analysis

* My recommendation *

Key skills under pressure - Pressure Cooker Rugby

Creating pressure and intensity for match-like conditions

Pressure Cooker Rugby DVD
Train as you
mean to play


In this brand new DVD, discover 60 minutes of drills and exercises to create intensity in training. Ideal for working with adults and children aged 13 years and older.

Ospreys Academy skills coach Dan Cottrell has put together 20 unique drills designed to train players in how to deal with the toughest of all sporting challenges, PRESSURE.

Each pair of drills focuses on a different aspect of the game, from handling to defence, work at the breakdown to counter attack. The first drill is simpler, the second puts the skills into The Pressure Cooker.

With coaching points, skill keys and cutting edge ideas, this DVD will give your practices a "game like" intensity that will drastically improve your performances.

Click here for more details and to order your copy today.

* Coaching sessions *

How to survive training with no balls

By Colin Ireland, a qualified sports consultant with vast experience coaching and teaching rugby at every level of the game from minis to international squads

It is every coach's nightmare: turning up at the club for a training session and there is no kit. But you need not worry since there's a lot of purposeful training that can be done without any balls.

Evasion games

Play games of “chase” in different sized areas. Players in the small areas work on agility and fast footwork while those in larger areas will improve changing direction and pace.

Reaction and acceleration races

Start four players in a line and race over 5 metres. Then get them to start from different positions, kneeling, lying or sitting cross legged. They have to react to your call each time. One of the racers can act as the starter as well.

Two players face each other about 1 metre apart. One is the attacker and the other the defender. The attacker has to move from side to side and try to lose the defender who is trying to stay opposite him. When he thinks he is clear he has to accelerate forwards past the defender.

Tackling games

You can play “Bulldog” with the whole squad. Line up two tacklers in a 20 metre box and let the other players try to get to the other end of the box. Every player successfully tackled joins the defending team until only two players are left. They are now the new defenders.

Alternatively, have 1v1 games where the attacker has to get past a defender and over a line.

Play “Tackle box”. All the players crawl around on hands and knees in a box. Two tacklers (also on hands and knees) have to see how many tackles they can make in a minute.

Confidence in contact

Players work in pairs. They start sitting back to back with their legs straight out in front of them. On the whistle they have to turn round, get up to their knees and wrestle with the partner. The winner is the player who pins their opponent’s shoulders to the ground.

This article is from Rugby Coach Weekly.

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* Game analysis *

Tips and techniques for analysing your game

Top sides have analysts to break down every phase of the game. Here's how you can adapt some of their techniques for your team.

Analysing the game by numbers has become fashionable, with computer technology and enhanced reporting on the television helping to add value to your viewing.

Of course American football and basketball watchers will be familiar with the myriad of information on gains, yards, field goals, defence and other match statistics. Here we show you how you can use video analysis to enhance your understanding of your team's performance.

How to gather stats using a digital or video camera

These days, more and more sides have access to a digital or video camera. To make the best of this facility try the following tips:

  • Make sure the camera is zoomed in on the play as much as possible.
  • Get some height. Stand on a chair or table if you cannot get into a stand, or get on top of the clubhouse.
  • Filming is pretty boring, so try to get more than one person to take it.
  • The ends of the pitch can offer a better view because it is less likely that spectators will be in the way.
  • The side of the pitch offers a better view of body positions and momentum.
  • Stop and start the filming at each breakdown. This reduces the amount of useless time watching the film at a later date.
  • Set the clock to display throughout the recording.

Analysing the film

Though an 80-minute game has probably only 25-35 minutes of actual game time, it will take a great deal more time than that to make a full blown assessment. Though you have the luxury of rewind, limit your game analysis to the key areas.

Zero the clock or counter on the PC, DVD or video machine, or make sure you film with the clock or counter showing. Then you can note key incidents and, when you play the film back to the team, you can access them quickly.

A shortcut to analysis is to watch the film with the players, making them identify the key details. I have used this a number of times when I have not had time to watch and quantify the film.

The players enjoy checking off what they have done well and skills they've used, and checking that their team mates have been pulled up for their mistakes!

Use feedback on the video with a flipchart or large piece of paper with some of the key points from the game. It is amazing what obvious conclusions the players can work out for themselves when they realise how many rucks they have lost because of poor body positions.

Checklist tips


  • Ball into contact: won v lost.
  • Passes made: successful v unsuccessful.
  • Tackles made: completed v missed.

Team (attacking and defending):

  • Rucks: won v lost.
  • Mauls: won v lost.
  • Lineouts: won v lost.
  • Scrums: won v lost.

This article is from Rugby Coach Weekly. Join today and every week I'll send you more ideas for coaching inexperienced players and children. Proven ways to improve their skills, and the tactics you can use to win more matches.

Click here to take out an 8 week trial for 97p and receive weekly advice to keep your training sessions.

* The Huddle *

Benefit from simple analysis

If you do not have a camera to hand, another way to analyse your players' performance is through recording their actions on the pitch via a simple game analysis sheet.

You can record all aspects of all your players' games, be it tackling, passing, supporting, scrummaging, or kicking, etc., using ticks or a number rating system (such as 110).

The analysis can also be used at half time to praise individuals or to identify areas which need improving. However, we don't advocate comparing individuals directly and don't use the analysis to criticise individual players.

Click here to see a copy of a simple game analysis sheet and leave your comments.

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