Kids 12: Prep and Plan

Not everyone is cut out to be a coach, but, in the lower levels – “He can play, we need a good player, give him the job.” I dig it. Sorta.

A plan. Each coach is different, but I always had three basic unbreakable laws for training. Not 100. Three. Our mantra.


1st was: No u-turns. Ever. If the ball goes over your head, and the next bloke in line isn’t ready for you, shame him into it. Run at him until he takes off to get the ball off you. If there is no-one there, hold it up until someone runs back around you in support. Within weeks, the whole team knows it, and works to it, and eventually does it in a Saturday. You’ll see a player turn out of the centre ball-up with the ball, on the wrong side of the pack, and a half back flanker will run at him, screaming for the ball. They become practicable to each other.

Every time someone does a u-turn at training, pull the whole group up.

The others were; Sprints come in twos. Sprint to get it, sprint back to young man/start of the drill.

The third was two-way talk. You do not stoptalking until the person you have delivered it to has delivered it. This makes a team a team.

Each coach has their own three rules. Whatever they are, if you don’t have them, you have nothing to glue the team.

A failed coach is one who has a plan at the start of the year and abandons it. I see it time and again.

A really failed coach is a reactionary one. Each week you do a different drill based on what went wrong the week before. No kid is going to learn anything if they only do it once.

Have a plan. Stick to it. If it needs tinkering, modify it, or replace it with another plan. Do not, ever, have a new plan each week.

I always started off the year with fairly basic drills, that still involved decision making, but were as much about getting their skills right. Then, as the year went on, as skills, fitness and confidence improved, I added elements to the drill. First, I put in one spoiler, then two. Or I’d add an extra leg to the drill, or extra distance. Made it fresh again.

I only did about 50% of the same drills all year. The rest, new ones to keep it fresh, were still based on our three points and game plan.
He’s are real basic tip for a junior coach. Prep. Always have your night’s activities mapped out. Kids can smell it if you don’t. “Okay, just jog two laps boys while I set up the next drill.” Half a lap later the coach is still in the middle thinking hard.

It reeks.

It reeks of a bloke making it up as it goes. It reeks of, “I am not a leader. I do not do my homework. I do not know what’s going on. I have no plan.”

Kids aren’t stupid. Adapt if you have to, throw a new drill in, but have a plan. Every night.



  1. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Spot on Old Dog and it doesn’t apply just to juniors the reactionary coach the change every thing all the time coach according to what had happened in the previous game and then change again unfortunately that was Robert Shaw to a tee at the Crowx

  2. Cheers Rulebook.I agree. Sorry your Crows got bowled out. Was barracking for them!

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