Intro on performance profiling for rugby

Performance profiling in rugby helps players to measure their progress towards set goals. Performance profiling or feedback is part of the whole goal setting program.

Players are motivated if they see their performance improves towards the standard they have set. Again, communication with your players is the key: everybody should know why they play rugby, what they want to achieve.

Why Profiling?

Here are some reasons:

  • measure and judge performance
  • assess the goals that have been set
  • provide feedback
  • identify those key elements or characteristics to improve
  • relate the individual performance against that of the team
  • create awareness of own responsibility, own role as part of the development of the team

You see that goal setting has little effect without the feedback provided by performance profiling.

Performance Analysis

Performance Analysis should give you and the player an object view on the performance of their skills. You should break-down everything in such details that systematic observations will give you good feedback on the progress made.

Two different approaches are possible:

  • notational/match analysis, which uses means to record aspects of team performance;
  • biomechanics, which revolves around the sporting impact of body movements.

I use the first one, scribbling away on a notepad and experimenting with a video analyses program. Focus on taking notes on those performance parameters that quantify the progress of a skill.


There are several ways to provide feedback on the goalsetting program but most of all remember that the performance goals set by the players are already quantified in terms of Technical -, Tactical -, Mental -, Fitness - and Strength characteristics and perhaps other relevant issues. In the goalsetting program described earlier you identified for each characteristic the achievers/what to do.

Example: improve my goal kicking:

  • Goal: 75% of all my penalties will be a score by Xmas this year.
  • Technical: improve body position at the kick, follow through after the kick
  • Tactical: -
  • Mental: improve concentration, develop a performance routine
  • Fitness: -
  • Strength: develop explosive power in my kicking leg

A performance profile can now easily be made using the above characteristics.

Another example

I found some profile sheets more based on functional roles that can help you get some ideas. An excerpt below:

Performance profile Backs and Defence

  • Alignment: deep / flat
  • Contest: Man-on / Drift / One out
  • Tackle: effective / Correct
  • Cover / Support:
  • etc.

How to gather the data

This is of course the big thing: record keeping, processing the info and finding time to evaluate with the player(s). Again al lot of organisational skills required. Think about:

  • Match analysts (spectators, injured players, retired players you might want to bring as coach anyway, your assistant coaches)
  • Video Analysis (this requires some processing too..)
  • But most of all involve the players themselves in the Game Analysis


I think that this goal setting process is an excellent way to discuss with your players how you all are going to work together. It gives you an opportunity to discuss with the players what you think is needed for the team to progress.

All in all valuable time spent inside! Good luck, hope that reading this page helps you!

Reference material

  • Goalsetting, how to organise this.
  • Two books are the basis for a lot of my work, "Winning, the Mental Way" by Karen Sugarman and "Coaching the Inner Edge" by Robin Vealy. Look at my booksection for the review.
  • Functional Roles in a team, this might help you with identifying individual characteristics.
  • Goalsetting and Performance Profiling is an important part in improving "team cohesion" or teambuilding
  • You can download the forms I used from the Free Download Page
  • Performance and outcome goals, on the Coaching Youth Sports page