Five key steps to a successful School Rugby season

School rugby is one of the most enjoyable and refreshingly exciting forms of rugby out there. It is made all the more enjoyable though if you can have a winning season. We give you five simple guidelines to help achieve that an, even better, these are all things that you can do at any time:

1. Get fit and then get fitter. Fitness is king when it comes to rugby, to be in the 1st XV you are already going to all be good at rugby, so to get your edge get fit. The fitter you are the better you will play, you will be more effective, concentrate better and be able to contribute more and play at your top level for longer.

2. Practice the basics. What do the All Blacks do better than everyone else? All the easy bits. They pass brilliantly, tackle effectively, run straight and with pace, and hit rucks with venom instead of using them as a rest. If you practice your passing and tackling over and over again it will pay off. A good, flat, pacy pass can be far more effective than any number of complicated moves when it is executed correctly.

3. Play for your teammates. Rugby is a team game, and the teams that are most successful always play as a team and for the team. Playing for the team makes a difference, it makes people get up from a ruck that second quicker so that they can fill a gap because they don’t want to let their mates down. It is why people put themselves in a position where they know they’ll get hurt, because they know it’ll help.

4. Communicate. Talking is important, and equally important is understanding what to say. In attack it is key to communicate as the ball carrier – telling people where you want them, as a support runner -telling the ball carrier where you are and where you’re going, and as a player further from the action – telling those around you where the space is and where the gaps are and how to exploit it. In defence communication stops holes emerging. Players who communicate well will constantly be telling those around them who their man is, and calling for those either side of them to push out or come tighter, calling the pace of the line as it pushes up. When stretched communication becomes even more vital. Making a lot of noise also adds an intimidatory factor. Again though, to communicate effectively players must be fit as when you are tired and out of breath the first thing to go is communication.

5. Understand your role and your position. One of the toughest parts of school rugby is that  people are often playing in new positions, or have yet to truly learn the role their position plays. One of the best ways to get ahead is for everyone to really learn the details of their position and what their job is and how to do it effectively. For instance do your 6 and 7 fully understand their positions and the differences between them? Do your wingers see themselves as out and out pacemen and try scorers or do they understand their importance in sweeping up in support of the full back and of coming into the backline with intelligent lines? It may seem small, but knowing your positions fully can be a real asset. It will bring a natural organisation to the team meaning far less time will be spent scrambling in defence, meaning valuable energy is saved.

Follow these simple ideas and you should be headed for a successful and enjoyable season. Good luck, and enjoy!

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