Rugby: Tabata Touch

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Mokie, Rugby Coach


You can play any version of touch you like, I'm going to suggest One Touch Off-Load - but you can change this to suit your training goals for the session ahead. Mark out your training area for the game, but include one or more Tabata training zones for your players (these zones don't have to be very big). If you only have one other person helping you - you might have only one zone, but if you have more assistant coaches or helpers standing around, create more zones - you'll find they will be used.

  • Split your players into two teams, giving them bibs if needed.
  • Keep your law briefing, brief - telling the players the laws of the version of touch you have decided to play.
  • Tell them that as an addition to the normal laws, we now have a sin binning for mistakes e.g. you may decide that all mistakes are sent to the sin bin (The Tabata Zone), you might just focus on forward passes, or penalties. My point is that you can tailor this to suit your coaching goals. Players sent to the sin bin will be there unit sent back by the supervising coach.
  • Don't forget to swap the defense and the attack. Also you can focus the sin binning on the defence for not meeting your defensive goals.

Using the Tabata Zones

  • Small areas with one coach/helper.
  • The Tatbata protocol is often 8 periods of intense 20 second activity - with 10 seconds of rest in between (sound simple - try it!).
  • Tell the sin binned player they have 20 seconds to complete as many press-ups as they can, then give them 10 seconds to rest.
  • Repeat 8 times, or reduce to a number of repetitions that work for you and your players. When the player has completed their reps - return them to the game.
  • What you could do in the zones: Press ups, Lunges, Burpees, Sit ups, Etc.


You may choose one or more of the following to focus on:

  • Players need to work hard during their 20 second of activity.
  • The rest period is only 10 seconds, and needs to be kept that way so as to get players back into the game as quickly as possible. Their time in the zone should be used to its maximum potential and should push them.
  • When players are returned to the game, get them back into the action right away - let's set how they preform under pressure.
  • Focus on specific mistakes - e.g. dropped balls. If you focus on all the mistakes, you might find you have no attacking players on the pitch.
  • Remember your coaching points for the game of touch you have chosen, if you're not sure - see the warm-up section of the SportPlan site and choose a game of touch that supports your training goals.
  • Ask zone coaches to encourage and support binned players.



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