General Article

How to be a Great Rugby Coach

A great coach can be the making of a rugby team. If someone is passionate about the game and genuinely loves teaching others, this will rub off on players and inspire them. We’ve all seen coaches join a club and turn the team around – for better and sometimes for worse – with their style of play. But what exactly makes a great rugby coach?

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Balancing Act for Coaches

Coaches need to be able to juggle various roles. Obviously they will need to have great tactics to get the most out of their players. They need good man management skills to encourage players and good communication skills to get across what they are trying to achieve and be able to handle any club politics. Great coaches will also be able to change direction if things are not working as expected, they are not so set in their ways that they cannot adapt when necessary.

Winning Isn’t Everything

Although the aim of the game is to beat the opposition, coaches need to remember that winning isn’t everything. England coach Eddie Jones advises coaches of young players to remember to get the balance between concentrating on the team in a bid to win and developing individuals. He said coaches need to put the building blocks in place so that young players can improve their skills in areas such as catching, passing and tackling. They need to be taught these fundamental skills if they are going to enjoy playing rugby. Eddie Jones includes basic, core skill work in every session he coaches, and these sessions can be broken down into 15 minute slots.

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These core skills can be taught in training sessions which concentrate on different situations which will crop up during a game, such as changing pace or direction, running effectively sideways and backwards, tackling, passing, controlling a pass, moving with the ball and moving without the ball. Watching a rugby drill video, such as those at, can help immensely when teaching core skills. Players and coaches can watch a rugby drill video about a particular skill and then practise what they have seen.

Getting the basic skills right will improve team play as well as individual ability. Players will feel more confident when going into a game because they will have learnt how to react to all eventualities.

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