Develop with Open Play or Restarts? Which choices should you make?
Most Under12 teams train for an hour twice a week. Often about forty weeks. Then your total “budget” of training time is only 80 hours.
How important do we make Line-Out?
I had a discussion with coaches on how much time to spent on organising the Line-Out for a Under12 team. One coach said that in the Line-Out the kids have good opportunity to spot space, attack and be creative. It was his plea to make Line-Out important.
These are the two extremes: making the restart important of focus on Open Play. I actually have experience in both through youth trainers that I have coached. My experience on this:
Restart first, Open Play second
For this one season we wanted to make the team comfortable with all the restarts in order to promote the general rugby experience with a good structure. We started working during the “introduction weekend” before the formal start of the season and continued until the autumn holidays. Focus of attention were kick-off scenario’s, scrum binding and body positions and Line-Out variations..We wanted to rotate players across the positions, so that took some extra time too. This all worked fine. Play started positive and the team retained the ball in the restart situations.
Open Play first, Restart second
The other extreme was only paying attention to scrum for safety, for the rest it was Open Game. This resulted in less ball possession from own restarts, but more training time for other matters. Open Play was very good, decisions of the Ball Carrier and his Support Players. The Line-Out was more of a “hope for the best” thing.
How to choose?
First, we need to understand there are very few Line-Outs in an Under12 match anyway (3-4 max).
I now opt for the Open Play first scenario and think that the players in the older age categories can pay more attention to the different of tasks in Line-Out / Restart situation and the time (“budget”) is used more effectively then.
What do you choose?
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