Learning to train (L2T)
The Rugby Teacher deals with players in this category that are approximately 12-14, or even younger. Goal is developing the fundamental rugby skills.
The emphasis is now on refinement and maintenance of the athlete’s physical capacities, fundamental movement skills and the acquisition of rugby specific skills. This is allied to the continuation of other sporting activities throughout the school year, and during summer and winter multi-sport camps.
So the focus is not at all on rugby alone! In the Talentdevelopment program of the NRB we include Judo, Basketball and Volleyball for instance.
We further develop the Rugby Head here: players understand the idea of finding space and going forward. Now play can be more collective, we can run more game like exercises and work on the role of the support players.
Included in the Irish version of the LTAD model there is also great addition: which coaching style suits the specific development phase. This post is inspired on this!
The Rugby Teacher
Due to maturation, the players are now capable of longer periods of concentration and attention; therefore teaching rather than guiding is more appropriate for accelerating learning. Knowledge of how to facilitate learning through understanding is critical together with tactical – and technical skill development and progressions.
The Rugby Guide is involved in the next activities:
- Prepare for and delivering training sessions for his team
- Make rugby safe: injury prevention
- Coaching the team at games & tournaments
- Organise activities
I have set up lots of pages to help the Rugby Teacher with these tasks. Also you will find a whole archive of documents to help you on your way in a practical manner.
Focus on fun and games
Working on the collective go forward, the support players have to actively help the ball carrier to keep the ball alive. Best to learn this in small games. In this game based learning, or teaching games for understanding model (TGfU), the Rugby Guide has to understand how, where and when to feed the ball in order to enhance the learning experience in that game. I found that Pierre Villepreux’s work really fits this phase of development, he has a very simple idea about this:
- Let the attack play rugby, most of the time the rules of the game are similar of the rugby rules
- Manipulate the defence to create the learning experience
You can manipulate the defence and create space by having the defence at specific starting positions, less players, etc. More on that approach on my ‘How to develop Open Play‘ blog-post.
Also, when playing these games, focus on tactical not technical development, when one player drops the ball simply introduce a next ball and keep the game flowing. I vividly remember the face of my friend Paul when he saw me feeding the second ball after a knock-on and all players simply played on with that second ball and stayed in the flow of play. Powerful stuff indeed: address technical development in another part of your training.
LTAD Rugby Teacher Coaching Course
Finally, I have set up a special coaching course for The Rugby Teacher alone, you have to understand the specialities of the development phase and the confidence to successfully work with youngsters. IRB Level I is a nice two-day intro but IRB Level II, is technical. Yes, you learn about rugby it does nothing to help you to become the Rugby Teacher, a specialist for this agegroup.
Strange when you come to think of it, now we have a development model for our players, the development model of the coach does not reflect this…..
- LTAD Model explained;
- The different development stages and the perspective for the coach in more detail: Rugby Guide, -Challenger,-Facilitator, -Empowerer;
- The Free Download section with the Irish LTPD, the RFU LTAD Booklet and our implementation for the Dutch Rugby Union: Meerjaren Opleidingsplan Rugby (MOR);