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6 Nations: What Coaches Can Learn

The 6 Nations and Super Rugby competitions are upon us.

With over 30 years of coaching experience I now sit and watch games (this time at 3-45 am) and let individual and team performances wash over me. When something jumps out at me, I scribble it down.

Maybe I can convert it into a coaching theme?

I’ve moved on from drills and don’t even use the word. I’m more focused on themes of work and continuity.

The Ireland v England game was a game of high quality and intensity. The other two sparked with glimpses of quality, with the French turning back the clock, albeit for the first half only. Still the place to coach I reckon.

By the end of the first round of games, my coaching themes list contained the following themes:

• Acceleration into space
• Attack the drift
• Footwork to create off-load
• Attack against line-speed
• Timed perfect starts
• Fast feet into contact
• Quick ball pass and chase
• Anticipation of turn-over

There is a mountain of creative coaching in each theme, vital if we want to develop a coaching and playing program that emphasises spontaneity and instinctive play.

Try looking at coaching themes as opposed to drills. The more you create, the more effective you become. Coaching within the theme still allows you to correct poor technique.

If, as head coach, you have coaches in your group who don’t correct poor technique…ask them politely to move on.

Mike Penistone

About Mike Penistone

Mike has coached at all levels of the game, from under-7's through to elite international players at the highest level, in both the northern and southern hemispheres. A few notable positions include serving as Head Coach for Great Britain Students (Rugby League), Head Coach at Nottingham RUFC and Head of Elite Player Development at Leicester Tigers Academy. Mike also served as the U21's Coach at the NSW Warratahs and Director of Coaching at Eastern Suburbs Sydney. He continues to coach across the globe running his consultancy. Check out his website: here. View all posts by Mike Penistone

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