This is an issue for me.
In 2013/2014 I finally completed my Level 3 ARU coaching Accreditation under my mentor Matt Williams. He was at the time working at Knox and part of his ideas discussed below was what he implemented at the Knox Sports Academy. His goal was to coach the coaches on how to "use the cattle they have" rather than use a uniform playing style. Having this blanket playing style is only found in schools were the emphasis is upon ONE team at the top of the pyramid. While it does give the 1st XV success as every student who makes this team has spent years playing this style, it does leave in its wake, a number of kids who were thrashed quite often. I recall one year when Scots 1st XV beat Joeys in spectacular fashion but lost every other game that day. They went 1/19 I think. Why? Because the Dictator
of Rugby had decreed every team play the 1st XV style. It was ugly and the coaches found it impossible to keep the kids spirits up.
What Matt and I discussed was as a coach you must work with the kids you have
. Sure we all would like big cattle for the forwards and prancing gazelles for the backs, but this does not happen. So what do you do?
1. EVERY PLAYER MUST LEARN TO TACKLE
. Defensive skills must be learned properly and not as a 15 minutes at the end of the sesssion. Start with it! Every training session must have at least half that time tackling and learning to hunt in packs (Joeys cattle dog mentality). Why? Because defense is what happens in half of the game. Making a front tackle should be as easy as catching a ball and if taught properly you are half way there.
2. EVERY TEAM MUST PLAY SMARTER.
, Too much time is spent of learning playing patterns. This is a great plan A but what happens when this fails? Coaches need to coach smart footballers. Kids who will see that what they are doing is failing so lets try something else. Matt would demand of his coaching staff the ability to watch an opposition closely and have three key points to speak of at half time. NO MORE than three. Kinds can take these in. They should be.....where we can defend better, were can attack more and ask them to identify with their units (forwards/backs) what particular aspects they can improve. They OWN the talk. .
3, DRILL MUST REPLICATE GAME PLAY
. You want all drills to be completed with same game intensity. In short, you want the kids to train harder than they play. Kids only learn from actual experience and not from a half pace scenario. Sure you build up, but if you take your foot off the gas early you are not teaching them that extra mongrel needed. It was common for the odd bloody nose in my sessions and if a nose was broken, then milkshakes all round the team! It was a reward because they were giving their all.
Directors (and no dictators) of rugby must coach the coaches properly with in school rugby coaching sessions with increased regularity. (Joeys does this well). If you do, then you will find success across the age groups and teams. Don't have a school based style, have a school based mindset to succeed.