How does the Principle of ‘Deliberate Practice’ apply to the coaching of Rugby Union…? Part iii

‘Principle of Attack’: Run ‘Hard and Fast into Space’

Jason Robinson 1

“The real challenge then of a coach is to design and plan ‘Conditioned Games’ that provide players to apply their understanding of the Principles of Play…in game-like situations…so the players work on and improve their decision making skills through ‘Game Sense’/’Teaching Games for Understanding’ (‘TGfU’)…i.e. understanding fully ‘how to play’.” (Nick Hill Coaching BLOG Article: How does the Principle of ‘Deliberate Practice’ apply to the coaching of Rugby Union…? (Part ii))

How do you design these ‘Deliberate Practices’…that facilitates players running ‘Hard and Fast into Space’…in game-like situations…using ‘Conditioned Games’…?

Principle of Attack: Run ‘Hard and Fast into Space’ videos:-

The key thing to understand here is that these ‘Deliberate Practices’ are on a continuum…and depending on several factors…age, ability, skill development, progress of players, time, area of field available…will depend which ‘Deliberate Practice’ you use…at the right place…at the right time…

The key theme to apply to these ‘Deliberate Practices’ is manipulating the defence to create spaces for the attacking players to run ‘Hard and Fast into Space’…remembering that 78% of tries are scored because players run ‘Hard and Fast into Space’.

You want your players getting used to running ‘Hard and Fast into Space’…in game-like situations…having to make decisions in the context of a real game…with real defenders in front of them…thus gaining in confidence as you progress and develop the ‘Deliberate Practices’…

Basic design of the practice:-

  • Area of Field (Size dependent of aim of ‘Conditioned Game’ and age of players);
  • 2 Teams (Size dependent on number of players at practice);
  • 2 to 5 balls (Quantity dependent on how you “time” the amount of time the ‘Conditioned Game’ plays for in a set, i.e. 2 balls for 5 minutes or play until 5 balls are scored, which is dependent on the aim of the ‘Conditioned Game’);
  • Basic conditions of game in Attack, i.e. when there is a “tackle”;
  • Basic conditions of game in Defence, i.e. how to do a “tackle: and when there is a “tackle”.

Design of ‘Deliberate Practice’, i.e. manipulating the defence to create the spaces when there is a “tackle”:-

  1. All defenders come in to the “tackle” area and do 1/2/3 press-ups = Lots of space for the attackers to attack in to…out wide…
  2. All the defenders run and touch a touchline (LHS, RHS or Both) on the side of the pitch = Lots of space for the attackers to attack in to…close by the “tackle” area…
  3. Half the defenders come in to the “tackle” area and do 1/2/3 press-ups and half the defenders run and touch a touchline = Lots of space for the attackers to attack in to…in the middle (if the “tackle” area is out wide)…or on both sides (if the “tackle” area is in the middle of the field)…
  4. e.g. 10 players on defending team: Place a Guard either side of “tackle” area = 2 players, 2 defenders in “tackle” area doing 1/2/3 press-ups = 2 players, 2 players run back and touch their own tryline OR run and touch the opposition tryline = 2 players, 2 players run and touch a touchline (LHS, RHS or Both) = 2 players, leaving 2 players to defend in the defensive line…
  5. e.g. 12 players on defending team: Place a Guard either side of “tackle” area = 2 players, 2 defenders in “tackle” area doing 1/2/3 press-ups = 2 players, create 3 pairs of defenders in the defensive line = 6 players, and have 2 players as “full-backs” 30m behind the defensive line = 2 players…
  6. e.g. 14 players on the defending team: Place a Guard either side of “tackle” area = 2 players, 2 defenders in “tackle” area doing 1/2/3 press-ups = 2 players, 5 players do a roll backwards (i.e. a backwards roll OR turn and do a forwards roll) = 5 players, and 5 players run back and touch their own tryline OR run and touch the opposition tryline = 5 players…
  7. e.g. 20 players on the defending team, playing across a full-sized pitch, i.e. the width of the pitch = 100m: Place a Guard either side of “tackle” area = 2 players, 2 defenders in “tackle” area doing 1/2/3 press-ups = 2 players, create 3 pairs of defenders in the defensive line = 6 players, have 2 players as “sweepers” 5m behind the defensive line = 2 players, have 3 players as “full-backs” 30m behind the defensive line = 3 players…leaving 7 players on their own defending normally in the defensive line…
  8. e.g. 6A v 6D in a 30m by 30m grid: When there is a “tackle” the “tackler” stays down on the floor until their team gets the ball back…thus the defending team “loses” one defender every time there is a “tackle”…until there is a try scored OR a turnover of possession…
  9. e.g. 8A v 8D in a 40m by 40m grid: When there is a “tackle” the “tackler” stays down on the floor until their team gets the ball back…after the “3rd tackle”…when the “4th tackle” occurs…the “1st tackler” gets back up and defends again…when the “5th tackle” occurs…the “2nd tackler” gets back up and defends again…and so on…until there is a turnover of possession…
  10. Do any combinations of the above mentioned scenarios…

As long as the ‘Deliberate Practice’ is game-like…i.e. an attacking team v. a defending team…in an area dependent on the numbers of players at training OR the aim of the game…the options that are available to you to manipulate the defence are endless…give it some thought and use your imagination to be as creative as you can be…remembering to progress the conditions of the defending team over time…start simple, then making it more complex over time as your players get used to this ‘Method of Coaching’…develop their knowledge and understanding…and improve their skills at the same time…

Principle of Attack: Run ‘Hard and Fast into Space’ videos:-

Jason Robinson 2

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