Schedule multiple teams

How to schedule your sessions when you want to use specialist coaches on more teams? Many, many years ago the NRTV (Dutch Rugby Trainers Association) organised a clinic and the coaching staff of Bath was in the Netherlands to present rugby andĀ  their organisation. Back in those days Bath ran two teams and a development side and Bath thought all three were equally important:

  1. 1st XV: needed to become English champions
  2. 2nd XV: needed to supply quality players in case of injuries in the 1st XV
  3. Development team: needed to supply future English champions players

Bath had lots of specialist coaches and trainers and needed to set up a way to maximize that knowledge across all three teams. During that evening in Leiden they presented a sort of staggered schedule that looked pretty complicated. But shortly after I was made coach of RC Hilversum and needed to organise all the help of past top Hilversum players so I looked at it again and implemented the set-up.

Examples

Below some different variations: the first is of a session where the focus is on skill development. You see how I have set-up for blocks of half an hour and how the trainers are assigned per block (I used fictional names to give you an idea).

schedule 1

When?What?  
Block 1Block 2Block 3
WarrenEddySteve
GroupWarming-upSkillsOpen Play
Training ElementSAQ Dyn. Flex

Catching & Passing
Training ElementSAQ Ladder workPassing before contactAttack: Dominate tackle line
Training ElementCatching & Passing: quick hands
19:00 - 19:30Under 18
19:30 - 20:002nd XVUnder 18
20:00 - 20:301st XV2nd XVUnder 18
20:30 - 21:001st XV2nd XV
21:00 - 21:301st XV

So training starts for the Under 18 at 7 p.m. with Block 1. Training for the second team starts half an hour later with Block 1 too, etc.

This way we make use of “Warren” who knows a lot about all the aspects of Warming-up and activating the players mind and body and “Eddy” who is fantastic skills coach for “Catching and Passing”.

You can also split one of the blocks, for example when you want to work the forwards and backs separately. In the example below “Eddy” is assigned on working on Scrum with the forwards and “Wayne” is assigned to work with the Backs on Lateral Play and on Midfield Options.

schedule 2

When?What?   
Block 1Block 2aBlock 2bBlock 3
WarrenEddyWayneSteve
GroupWarming-upRestart - ForwardsBackline PlayTeam Play
Training ElementSAQ Dyn. Flex

Scrum: building postureLateral playWalkthrough scrum options
Training ElementSAQ Ladder workScrum: 1v1, 2v1Exploring mid-field options
Training ElementCatching & Passing: quick handsScrum: work on sled
19:00 - 19:30Under 18
19:30 - 20:002nd XVUnder 18Under 18
20:00 - 20:301st XV2nd XV2nd XVUnder 18
20:30 - 21:001st XV1st XV2nd XV
21:00 - 21:301st XV

And of course you might want to combine teams for example if you want to do live scrumming instead of using the sled, or want to work in Open Play with full squads. This is done in the next example.

schedule 3

When?What?   
Block 1Block 2aBlock 2bBlock 3
WarrenEddyWayneSteve
GroupWarming-upRestart - ForwardsBackline PlayTeam Play
Training ElementSAQ Dyn. Flex

Scrum: building postureLateral playWalkthrough scrum options
Training ElementSAQ Ladder workScrum: 1v1, 2v1Exploring mid-field options
Training ElementCatching & Passing: quick handsScrum: work on sled
19:00 - 19:30Under 18
19:30 - 20:002nd XV & 1st XVUnder 18Under 18
20:00 - 20:302nd XV & 1st XV2nd XV & 1st XVUnder 18
20:30 - 21:002nd XV & 1st XV
21:00 - 21:30

This way the headcoach who coordinates the planning simply has to decide on the Goals and Training Elements for a given period and detailĀ multiple copies of this schedule to assign and communicate the work to be done. Of course you can use Supercoach Online to help you detail all this and built the actual session.

Pros and Cons

As with any system there are very positive aspects of this model and “negative side-affects”

Advantages are:

  • Everybody gets the same attention;
  • “Warren”, “Eddy”, “Wayne” and “Steve” in my example learn a lot about the player potential within the club;
  • And they will have done the specific exercise already two times when the 1st XV players come to them;
  • You can include lots of specialists, people who would be hesitant to put their hand up as coach for a team (they might even become future coaches);

Disadvantages are:

  • The players have to get used to all the different coaches and their style;
  • A lot of scheduling and communication is required;
  • “Warren” and co. need to get to know a lot of different players;
  • The quality of the work of all the coaches involved needs to be high;
  • The Specialists need to focus on their area only, otherwise they may communicate a different vision;

This worked at Bath in the nineties of course and it worked like a dream at Hilversum where I ran this for three years, the first season the 3rd team got promoted, the second season the 2nd team. When we did not make it as National Champions in the 3rd season, the schedule was supposedly one of the reasons and the club decided to go back to the one coach per team approach……

Related material:

  • Download an Excel version in the downloads section;
  • More on SuperCoach Online, the coaching tool that will help you plan the season and individual session AND that automates your communication with “Warren”, “Eddy”, “Wayne” and “Steve” about the individual sessions and yearplan;