Wed 17 Aug 2022 07:33


The development of players at any stage of their rugby journey is a real privilege and we do not under estimate the impact we can have. At Tabard we believe in a PLAYER CENTERED APPROACH in everything that we do.


In our session planning we use games to help players’ understanding and decision-making capabilities.


Using a ‘whole – part – whole’ approach where sessions start with a conditioned and opposed game, then we look at the specific skill weaknesses and work on them, then returning to the game to observe.

These sessions often look chaotic (and often are!) but we encourage players to try new things and make mistakes. If they drop a ball or pass it forward not a problem as long as they have tried something. This approach gives players the confidence to express themselves rather than being fearful of failure.

Feedback through questioning
We use questions to check for players’ understanding. We use open questions to encourage them to think about what has been happening and how they can improve things giving player’s ownership of their development.

What was working well for them?

What do they need to do to improve their success?

How are they going to approach the next game?

We are looking for development
Observing the game (whole) and skill specific development (part) our player-centred approach takes the long-term view and puts development as our No 1 success factor. We look for areas of specific improvement and we encourage the players comment on the positive things that they have developed. Stepping back allows players to express themselves.

Amend and change the game
From our own coaching observation and feedback provided direct from the players we may amend the game rules or physical area to ensure all players are involved and fully participating and skills development takes place.

Involve everyone
We want to involve other coaches, parents and key players in the discussion about the session. As coaches we want to be very open-minded, that is how we learn and develop!

On average we would look to have games planned for certain segments of our session. The initial game should last for max 10 minutes (Whole) – 2/3-minutes questioning and feedback – Skill development section 5 mins (Part) then back to another 6 – 8 minutes of game play (Whole). “Whole Part Whole”

Our goal is to keep all players fully engaged, challenged and moving constantly


This approach will be unlike game-based training as we will be very structured in our approach with use of progressive drills. These can be unopposed, semi-opposed or opposed. Sometimes the drills are practised without any relation to the game.

Coaching by Instruction
Drills require the coach to provide a lot of instruction and feedback. This approach looks to improve specific technique(s) and are extremely useful in the development of core skills of:


These drills are repetitive and unopposed, allowing players to develop the skill at their pace We highlight key factors using common coaching phrases to communicate the message effectively to all players across all age groups. The players learn from observing, doing and amending from both coaches and fellow players. We may use “guest coaches” to support these activities enabling players to get as much one to one coaching / feedback as possible.

Focus on skills development and measuring success
This drill-based approach allows us to set some targets to enable measurement of success.

For example - drill is completed when the player has passed the ball 3 mtr successfully with both the left and right hand.

This method provides coaches with practical information on individual player development

Feedback through questioning
After each drill we will ask the players for feedback encouraging mutual learning –

What worked well for them?

What was the most difficult thing?

What would they do different next time?

Getting feedback at the end of a short 5 mins drill session enables the coach to gather feedback – review and amend to be able to repeat the session again and again.

Structured Session
This is a coach led session designed for a specific purpose and is delivered in a very structured and consistent way. COACHING THROUGH DRILLS will often be used to support the “Part” section of a gamed based session.

On average we would look to have skills development segments of our session not lasting for more than 8 – 10 minutes maximum. 2 mins explanation – 7-minute drill max – 1 minute feedback.

Our goal is to keep all players fully engaged, challenged and moving constantly