Being a rugby coach today

You can read that and interpret that any way you want, but I fully believe that it is a wonderful honor and joy to be able to coach rugby. Rugby coaching is a wonderful way of sharing your love and passion for the game with players of all ages and growing our wonderful global rugby community. 

With my coaching section, I would like to give you some ideas on how to approach rugby coaching with its unique challenges. Some of the challenges that you have probably come across, or definitely will in future include: 

  • Trying to coach a crazy bunch of youngsters under 8
  • Dealing with moody teenage players
  • Coaching players who just left school and know EVERYTHING
  • Training when you don’t have a full squad of players
  • Putting together practice plans (and game plans)
  • How to work under pressure
  • Breaking a losing streak
  • Training on a shoestring budget when you don’t have all the equipment

These challenges are ones faced by coaches the world over on a daily basis. 

It should however not stop you from still applying yourself as a coach and helping to shape and grow rugby players, but encourage you to think creatively.

There is one key aspect of rugby coaching that I can’t possibly emphasize enough and if you do that, you will always get better: Planning.

If you put in the effort to plan your practice sessions and your rugby events, you will remove a lot of the stress and uncertainty on practice days and game days. The players will feel more confident in your abilities as you are sure of what you will be focusing on. Parents start liking you more as they see you are constantly challenging their kids in a constructive way to improve. The results will start to improve steadily…

All of that rolled into one is what you want to achieve. No matter at what level you want to coach this will always be the most fundamental idea you need to grasp. 

Now down to the different coaching sections.

Being a rugby coach at different age group levels

You can prepare yourself for the expectation and pressure, you receive from fans, parents, schools or clubs. You need to be very aware of the level your players are at and train accordingly because that is a key to success.

A rugby coach helping out some youngsters

To help guide you we have broken down our coaching sections by age group to help you understand how to approach training at different age levels. At every level you act as a rugby coach, you are helping to build young lives and sometimes even build stars of tomorrow… It is important to remember that.

Here are the links to coaching rugby at different ages: 

  • Training rugby players under the age of 8
  • Working with players between the ages of 8 and 11
  • Managing young teens between the ages of 11 and 14
  • Trying to make sense of players between the ages of 14 and 18
  • Working with rugby players between the ages of 18 and 21
  • Training adult rugby players

Coaching rugby based on different scenarios that you encounter

Rugby is not a simple sport. You will find that you are faced with many challenges when working with your players. Most of them would not be simple in any way, but we will try to tackle the answers. 

I looked at a number of situations that I have encountered over the years as a coach (since 2005). There are definitely a couple of challenges that keep popping up, so I am sure you will encounter the same challenges. 

Through these pages, I would like to give you some ideas of how you can deal with the many challenges you will face at a rugby coach…. and survive it. You will also see more happy faces from players, supporters, parents and the club or school where you coach.

These are the sections that I thought are some of the most important to cover in a bit more detail: 

  • Practice sessions with your full squad (the ideal situation) 
  • Putting together practice plans
  • Putting together a game plan
  • When you don’t have a full squad of players, but still need to train
  • With many inexperienced players
  • Dealing with the pressure to get results
  • Trying to break a losing habit
  • Without all the equipment that you need (or think you need)

The list is by no means exhaustive and we would definitely appreciate your feedback. I want to know what other scenarios you face and struggle with. I will gladly write more articles on the subject and include them in my newsletter. 

We are all coaches and we all struggle with the challenges it brings. If we continue to combine our knowledge we will keep strengthening the game globally.

And like we all know: no other game comes close to rugby. That is why we need to show them how its done!