International rugby coaches are often quoted as saying the most difficult thing about international rugby is the lack of preparation time. You finish your top14, PRO14 or Premiership game and get either one or two weeks to prepare for a match against a top southern hemisphere side.
This is why you’ll find sessions for international teams have to be the most efficient. More of their time in camp will be spent in meetings compared to a club team. Meetings, like all things reduce in impact when repeated. Similarly, your club or school team might only have 3 hours a week to prepare for each given Saturday.
To reduce meeting time, improve efficiency of a session and increase the preparation of your team, the next step is to do so remotely. One way of doing this through sending images and notes to players’ of what certain calls mean, what movements and patterns of play are, depending on the sport – set piece moves etc… AKA a playbook.
This is fantastic as it allows your training sessions to be spent working on timings, player development and making the session enjoyable, compared to explaining a new movement or idea, orchestrating where individuals stand or run to.
What I am going to discuss in this article is augmenting those images. I have included a video sampling something England might have shown to new players remotely before their camp in Portugal to teach players how they want to attack off 10.
This video is not an exhaustive list of all of England’s moves off 10 but is an example of 3 of them they play regularly.
What you’ll see in this video is moves displayed in simple 2D static images with arrows before being shown with animation of the 2D players created in Apple’s keynote and finally in the live match situation. You could add another layer to this with 3D animation with software.
The purpose of this is to allow players to understand the new move in it’s most simple and controlled speed format and transfer that to a high-speed chaotic live environment. A crawl-walk-run analogy would fit with this. From watching a 3 minute video – players now understand what a move looks like, where to run and where their team mates run in a much quicker and simpler fashion than a coach explaining the move live, leaving players getting cold at a training session.
When explaining a new move it is a simple case of information transfer. You want to describe something in the best way for the learner to understand it and you do that by simplifying the message and increasing clarity. With something requires players moving in tandem, the overhead 2D display with little distraction in the way of characters or overlapping arrows is a good place to start. You can read in more detail about feedback in a previous article of mine.
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