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The JR Blog

The JR Blog tackles the topics effecting Rugby, with a special interest on the effects they may have on the Junior Rugby world.

Every team will have a problem kid or kids, sometime it’s a different kid each training session. So the best way to deal with this is to have a concrete system that you stick to each time.

Most trouble makers are acting up for the attention of the team and the coach, they usually want you to react and the team to laugh. It’s a game of who will get the attention of the group, you or him/her?

So your best form of reaction is to take the wind out of their sail, if it’s on topic (but a little stupid) agree with them and slightly correct what they said to stay on track. If it is well off track and down right stupid ignore it and keep speaking, but focus on the kids listening.

Here are some simple rules that you can follow to help you make the training session successful and less painful.

1. Set rules early - and stick to them!!!
Make some simple rules for the way the training will be run and what will happen when you are going to give further instructions or game rules.
e.g. “when I have to talk what should you guys/girls do? (be quiet) or add a signal “when I put my hand up I want everyone to be quiet and point at the people talking”

2. Remember they want your attention - give them attention when they follow your instructions and find someone to give attention to when they play up. When they play up resist the temptation to focus on their trouble making, rather look for someone doing something well and focus on them.

3. Yellow cards do work, but only if it is not something the whole team wants to do and is used as a last resort. Use a parent to take the kid away and give the trouble maker something constructive to do for example, pick up cones from an old game or restock the storage room, etc. only for a short while before the kid comes back to the team. Resist sending them on a lap around the field they will only interrupt when they come back and will probably interrupt other teams on their lap.

4. Reinforce when they do something well. Even though you might struggle with the idea of giving the kid any form of compliment because of the constant barrage of interruptions, you will get good pay out of really looking for them in the games and constantly giving the compliments when they do the right thing. Soon that’s what they become accustomed to and all they want.

5. Make sure you have all the games set up so there is little time for the kids to stand around, this is when they will start to loose attention and then it will take you twice as long to get them back. More to the point the troublesome kid will have the undivided attention of the group while you run around and set things up.

6. Speak to the parents. Finally if it is becoming a real problem speak to the parents and explain that they will need to be at the training to look after their kid if things persist. usually the idea of standing around and having to grab their kid out overtime he/she plays up will make them force their hand to bring the kid into line.

So good luck with the attention game, if you stick to a system it will become easier over time.

Have a look at our easy to use Junior Rugby Coaching Manuals

20 Weeks of easy to follow training sessions on your phone or tablet! For less that $20

  • Fun games kids love to play
  • Easy to follow instructions and diagrams
  • Well planned skill game progressions
  • Key teaching points for each game and skill
  • Keep them interested (no more chasing and shouting)
  • Truly improve their game

This will make your life easier! Click Here

 

Jason Grier | Tuesday, August 30, 2016 | Comments ((Disabled)) | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Clean out drill for kids

The clean out is one of the hardest thing to teach young rugby players. Like tackling it is a confidence thing, they just don’t want to stick there head in and drive.

So the question is how do you build their confidence at the break down?

The trick is reducing the distance and padding all the bits that can hurt (i.e. the knees and elbows). The drill shown in these clips is a simple staged ruck situation. The tackle bag represents the tackled player on the ground, it’s needed for them to get used to stepping over the players on the ground.

The drill works as follows;

- Lay a tackle bag on the ground and place some cones under the edges to stop it from rolling around as they step over it.
- Set up some cones about a meter away from the bag on either side.
- Give the players on one side a crash pad and tell them to stand close to the tackle bag.
- Tell the players without the crash pads, their job is to drive over the tackle bag and push the crash pads away.
- On the coaches signal they attempt to clean out with leg drive

As the players understand the concept of the leg drive in the clean out, take the crash pads away and add a ball on one side of the tackle bag. Tell the players the team that can drive past the ball wins, make sure they don’t use their hands (one of the first things they will do when they start to loose).

Coaching points:

- Keep the head up to see where the opponent is
- Get low and drive up
- Make contact with the shoulders
- Take small steps to drive

If you want a full season of games check out one of the manuals below.

Have a look at our easy to use Junior Rugby Coaching Manuals

20 Weeks of easy to follow training sessions on your phone or tablet! For less that $20

  • Fun games kids love to play
  • Easy to follow instructions and diagrams
  • Well planned skill game progressions
  • Key teaching points for each game and skill
  • Keep them interested (no more chasing and shouting)
  • Truly improve their game

This will make your life easier! Click Here

 

Jason Grier | Sunday, October 30, 2011 | Comments ((Disabled)) | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Step and palm (fend) warm up - Kids Rugby

To maximise our time at training we should add our skill development into the warm up. Here is a side step and palm off (fend off) drill that allows for larger numbers and will help warm the players up without injury.

Set Up

Establish the number of participants, we really want to have at most 3 players lining up to run at a time. Therefore if you have 20 players you would be looking at setting 5 stations up (remember you will have a crash pad holder, so the groups are 4 players).
- Place a cone for each station about 1 meter apart to reduce the chance of collision.
- Place a crash pad about 4m back from the players with the ball.

Directions

- Tell the players to line up between a cone in groups of 4
- Tell the first player to go and pick up the crash pad and stand at the position of the crash pad.
- Give a ball to each group and explain to the players that the ball carrier will run forward with the ball in 2 hands until he/she reaches the pad, at which time they will choose the side they want to step towards and move the ball under the arm of the hand furtherest away from the pad.
- The ball carrier should attempt to push the pad away with the free hand (closest to the pad) and accelerate using the push to gain more speed.
- after they have completed the step and palm they job back to their group and hand off the ball to the next player. Its best to use 2 balls in each group speed things up.
- Change pad men every couple of minutes.

Coaching Points

- Ball in 2 hands when running
- Transfer the ball away from the contact zone
- Push arm into pad and use the push to accelerate away from the pad

If you are interested in more games and drills have a look at the manuals I have written for young players.

The Beginners Rugby Manual
The Introduction to Contact Rugby
The Introduction to Breakdown and Set Piece Manual  

Jason Grier | Tuesday, October 18, 2011 | Comments (571) | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

On the weekend Robbie Deans made a clear decision based on his selection policy which, put simply is to give everyone a chance to impress and then select on form. This selection policy is obviously a process based policy rather than a results policy.

What I am referring to here is the selection of Quade Cooper in the team to play England. In short term this is a huge risk, however, a step forward to the big picture of building a positive culture. All players now know they have a chance to make the team through performance and the best players will be on the field at all times.

Cooper has been knocking on the door for the past weeks and put his hand up in the midweek game against Glouster, where he had a hand in all the points scored. Yes due to injuries the timing might have been right to bring Cooper in, however, it would have been easier to stick to conservative centre pairing.

This decision is based on the long term objective of winning the World Cup. The result went Deans’s way in more ways than one. It puts all players on notice that their position isn’t a given and it gives hope for the fringe players hoping to break into the team.

Is Deans’s obvious focus on the World Cup correct? I suppose the answer comes back to the age old question of process vs results based coaching. Should he concentrate on the results while slowly bleeding players into the team or should he throw results to the wind with the focus of giving all a chance and hoping in the year of the World Cup the players select themselves.

In terms of culture an open selection policy will always create a competitive and vibrant atmosphere. Selection based on reward will also add a positive reinforcement and promote the player buy in factor. At the junior levels this attitude will increase the player desire and enthusiasm to give their best for the team and sooner rather than later the results will start to flow.

I suppose time will tell when the Wallabies face up to their ultimate test at the Rugby World Cup in NZ.Process Vs results based selection

On the weekend Robbie Deans made a clear decision based on his selection policy which, put simply is to give everyone a chance to impress and then select on form. This selection policy is obviously a process based policy rather than a results policy.

What I am referring to here is the selection of Quade Cooper in the team to play England. In short term this is a huge risk, however, a step forward to the big picture of building a positive culture. All players now know they have a chance to make the team through performance and the best players will be on the field at all times.

Cooper has been knocking on the door for the past weeks and put his hand up in the midweek game against Glouster, where he had a hand in all the points scored. Yes due to injuries the timing might have been right to bring Cooper in, however, it would have been easier to stick to conservative centre pairing.

This decision is based on the long term objective of winning the World Cup. The result went Deans’s way in more ways than one. It puts all players on notice that their position isn’t a given and it gives hope for the fringe players hoping to break into the team.

Is Deans’s obvious focus on the World Cup correct? I suppose the answer comes back to the age old question of process vs results based coaching. Should he concentrate on the results while slowly bleeding players into the team or should he throw results to the wind with the focus of giving all a chance and hoping in the year of the World Cup the players select themselves.

In terms of culture an open selection policy will always create a competitive and vibrant atmosphere. Selection based on reward will also add a positive reinforcement and promote the player buy in factor. At the junior levels this attitude will increase the player desire and enthusiasm to give their best for the team and sooner rather than later the results will start to flow.

I suppose time will tell when the Wallabies face up to their ultimate test at the Rugby World Cup in NZ.

Have a look at our easy to use Junior Rugby Coaching Manuals

20 Weeks of easy to follow training sessions on your phone or tablet! For less that $20

  • Fun games kids love to play
  • Easy to follow instructions and diagrams
  • Well planned skill game progressions
  • Key teaching points for each game and skill
  • Keep them interested (no more chasing and shouting)
  • Truly improve their game

This will make your life easier! Click Here

   

Jason Grier | Sunday, November 08, 2009 | Comments ((Disabled)) | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

There are 3 key areas to a great scrum and they are controlled predominantly by the front row.

1. The engagement
2. The body height
3. The drive

All of these 3 factors are determined by timing. Timing is the key to a successful scrum that wins own ball and creates tight heads (win against the head). It’s important the front row are taught timing from an early age.

A good engagement is the key to establishing a strong base for the scrum. Too often the front row seem to lean against each other, they have no desire to try and out play or control their opponent. Usually because they have heard about how dangerous the engagement can be and they are tentative.

The best way to get around this problem is to make it fun, get them to wrestle each other. Begin with them kneeling in a push up position and on the coaches call they have to engage with the opponent (still on their knees) and try to wrestle him to the ground. Soon you will see they learn the advantages of a good engagement and wrestling for positioning. This is also a safety measure it will increase their strength and body control.

How often do we see a bad engagement followed by poor body height in a junior scrum? Too often teams see the scrum as a rest from the game and end up just binding and leaning. It might be a roll off from bad habits learnt in Rugby League but it can be dangerous.

The best way to get a junior player to understand the concept of low body height is to exaggerate their notion of leaning for a rest. Get the players to simply lean against each other, let them choose how. More than likely they will stand virtually upright, while they are doing this tell them to take a step towards the opponent. This will usually cause them to loose balance and fall to the side or backwards. Now get them to repeat the exercise, however, this time with knees bent and back straight. Again get them to take a step forward and watch the difference in stability. Ask them which was less energy consuming and taxing, the answer will hopefully be the second version.

We know the benefits of low body height, however, often the kids aren’t taught or shown why it really helps them. Hopefully the next time they decide to take a break at the scrum they will realise with low body height they can actually contribute to the scrum and exert less energy.

So you have managed to change the players perception on the engagement and body height, there is one more component that is necessary to win the ball and this is where timing is essential.

In under 19s laws the scrum can only push 1 meter after the ball is fed in. This is a component junior players under use and estimate. A simple, well timed push when the ball is fed in can win own ball and opponent ball very easily and once the ball is at the feet of the second row everyone can relax. Generally the feed in the scrum is pretty poor causing the ball to bounce around and making it hard for the hooker to cleanly strike the ball, this means a good push on the feed is more important. It only needs to be a quick, well timed push as the ball comes in and you have won yours or your opponents ball.

A trick to teach the props about the necessity of calling the ball in is to get them to pack down against a scrum machine or another prop, with their eyes closed and tell them they have to strike for the ball when you tell them to open their eyes. Feed the ball into the scrum and call the ball in, watch them miss the strike. The reason being is naturally their eyes haven’t had time to adjust to coordinate the timing. Now explain to them if they do the same for their hooker he will have little chance winning the ball. This little explanation will work wonders for the communication.

There are plenty technical tricks the front row have to learn, however, I think these are key to Junior scrumaging. Good luck!!!

Jason Grier | Tuesday, September 08, 2009 | Comments ((Disabled)) | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

If it’s so easy why aren’t we doing it? Doing what I can hear you say. Ah derrr, think like a kid! We are all kids at heart and we all want the same thing, no not that.

I mean what do kids want? Put simply they want fun and so do we as adults, so where is the difficulty? Maybe its professionalism, is that the disease killing our game turning kids and older players away from our game? Or officialdom over cluttering our game with technicalities. What ever the problem people are turning away on droves and staying away from the stadiums in pursuit of something more exciting.

I would have to say I am a die hard supporter, played for 20 years, coached for the last 15 years and will probably get cremated with a rugby ball in arm. But I am seriously considering installing a rack of torture to distract me from the pain suffered when watching rugby at the moment.

On the other hand AFL is soaking it up, kids are flocking to the game and stadiums are filling at nearly every home game. The atmosphere is electric and people are watching it on the box (I have to say though I still can’t see the point of the game).

What are they doing that is so attractive? I think its simple, exactly that, keep it simple. Our game has become so complicated that even the officials are getting confused during the game and of course the new comers have no chance understanding what the hell is going on.

I think Graham Henry is right, maybe its time to have a real think about the rules of the game. The greatest problem is that the powers to be seem to think there is no problem with the game and believe rugby will always a have a place. Didn’t General Motors think the same thing, there will always be a place for big cars and look what’s happened to them?

So lets look at the game from a kids point of view, we want to run with the ball (or watch someone run with the ball), we want to score lots of tries (or watch someone score lots of tries), we want to pass and kick (or watch someone pass and kick), generally we want lots of action.

Correct me if I am wrong but I haven’t seen a kid do something or watch something boring, so why should we?

Have a look at our easy to use Junior Rugby Coaching Manuals

20 Weeks of easy to follow training sessions on your phone or tablet! For less that $20

  • Fun games kids love to play
  • Easy to follow instructions and diagrams
  • Well planned skill game progressions
  • Key teaching points for each game and skill
  • Keep them interested (no more chasing and shouting)
  • Truly improve their game

This will make your life easier! Click Here

   

Jason Grier | Monday, August 31, 2009 | Comments ((Disabled)) | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

The age old discussion (excuse the pun), should players be graded by age or weight?

I suppose the greatest statement for the case of age grading is that players will have to face a player of size sooner or later, therefore the sooner the players get used to playing bigger players the better. Secondly when is the correct age to bring back the age grading? If science is used then players will be around 16 when the pubity tapers off.

Truthfully there is no perfect grading system, there will always be a problem for someone. However, we have to step back and take into consideration the future of rugby. With this in perspective rugby junior numbers are declining and one of the key reasons is that parents (in particular mum’s) and players are turning towards sports of less contact. The question should then be simply, which grading system would attract junior players (between 6-12 years) and their parents to the game.

Obviously when looking at the grading system through the eyes of a 6-12 year old size would be a big determining factor. If you or I were to choose playing against a player around my size or against a player my age, it’s pretty obvious which way we will tend towards. In the early years players need to gain confidence, especially in contact which then spills over into all the other aspect of the game.

Generally speaking the early ages of rugby is a confidence and game sense stage, in which players will gain an understanding of all the facets of rugby and hopefully increase their confidence. Tackling is gradually phased in along with the structural elements of the game, i.e. the scrum and line out. As the players move towards the 12 years age they are generally refining their skill level and technical aspects of the game. The point I am trying to make is that playing against players of the same size and not age is not going to be detrimental to the players. In fact around the age 12 players will be making a decision about whether they stay with the sport or move on and if they are feeling confident they will continue playing.

Is 16 too old to change over to the age grading system? If we are taking into consideration a very general understanding of pubity then 16 is about the age most of the body changes start to plateau out. At this age most of the players should have gained enough confidence playing against players of their own size and hopefully become comfortable with their own body size/shape. Contact shouldn’t be a problem for them and the correct tackling technique should be embedded in their game, reducing the chance of injury. This all lends itself to a quick adaption of the new variety of sizes in the game.

The only possible spanner in the works could come from players who have a considerably slow growth and don’t appear to be moving through the grades. The only way to reduce the chance of a small 10 year old playing against a large 8 year old would be to contain the weight grading to a difference of 2 years, for example distribute the players according to weight with in an age of 2 years, for example 6/7 years, 8/9 years, 10/11 years, 12/13 etc.

What about the school rugby sector? Generally speaking the open teams contain players of varied ages selected according to their talent, so age is of little consideration. Most of the open team will be 16 and older reducing the impact of the weight grading on selection. In the lower ages weight can be easily used to grade the players and would probably increase or even out the inter-school competition.

Rugby should be attempting to shrug the image of a dangerous sport and reduce the possibility of injuries. With parents, in particular mums, pushing their kids towards sport of little contact every act of creating confidence in the sport is necessary. Parents and players will definitely perceive the sport as less dangerous if they are going to play against players of their own size or weight.

At current most sports are determined by age rather than weight, which leaves a great opening for rugby to take the leading move and possible increase the players population. Hopefully parents will see the step forward taken by rugby as a positive and register their kids in the local competition. Once the players and parents become accustomed to the game there is a better chance they will remain with the game.

At present I can’t see a better way of gaining the confidence of young players and parents, can you?

 

Have a look at our easy to use Junior Rugby Coaching Manuals

20 Weeks of easy to follow training sessions on your phone or tablet! For less that $20

  • Fun games kids love to play
  • Easy to follow instructions and diagrams
  • Well planned skill game progressions
  • Key teaching points for each game and skill
  • Keep them interested (no more chasing and shouting)
  • Truly improve their game

This will make your life easier! Click Here

 

Jason Grier | Friday, August 07, 2009 | Comments ((Disabled)) | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

As crazy as it may seem, boys need physical contact as a form of affection. How often do you see boys rumbling in the back yard, wrestling in the school playground? More to the point how often do you see girls doing the same?

Obviously boys and girls are different and they both need affection, however, in different forms. Girls are more drawn to cuddling and hugging, while boys will more than likely turn the cuddle into a squeeze followed by a wrestle. Sound familiar?

Boys will generally rumble with their friends and peers at any given opportunity. I see it with my 9 year old son all he wants to do is rumble, tackle or push me, and that is in an affectionate way. My daughter loves to be held in my arms and my son likes to wrestle his way out of my arms.

Call me biased, but doesn’t that make rugby a great outlet for boys? The back yard is actually more dangerous than the rugby field. How often do you see or hear of young boys injuring themselves in the back yard? More often than on the rugby field. Why?

Because rugby is a controlled environment, in which coaches and referees are on hand to reduce the chance of injuries. The players are taught how to play the game, how to fall and how to tackle correctly. The variability and unseen dynamics of the back yard are far less controlled and considering boys will naturally graduate to physical contact isn’t better if they get their fix on the rugby field?

The channels of contact in rugby are gradually introduced along with the other co-ordination skills needed for the sport. The players are coached through the safety aspects and the correct techniques reducing the chances of injury. Injuries are inevitable in every sport and with good management they can be reduced.

So as crazy as it may seem the rugby field is actually a safer place for physical contact than the back yard. Correct me if I am wrong!!

Jason Grier | Wednesday, July 01, 2009 | Comments ((Disabled)) | Trackbacks (0) | Permalink


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