Rugby: The Atom Game

Sportplan rugby has played a large role in my team's love for the...
Heather, Rugby Coach

DESCRIPTION

  • Quickly tell the players that when you blow you whistle and shout Atom, you will also shout a number to let the players know the size of the groups/atoms they need to get into. For example - if you shout Atom six - you want the players to get into groups of six. They should bind on in the groups to create a small circle of players.
  • In between atom calls the players run around the grid in different and random directions.
  • Some players may be left out of some groups/atoms, depending on the size of the groups when you call Atom. If those plays are a little put out by being left out, give them the opportunity to make the next Atom call.
  • Progression: Same as above, but in between Atom calls you play Simon Says e.g. let the players jog around but you call Simon Says put you hand on your head, Simon Says touch the ground with your right hand, Simon says jump up and clap your hands, ATOM 4! T
  • his should be fun, joke a little with the players and have fun with this. You may decide on minor outcomes for players that don't get into groups quick enough e.g. 2 press-ups. You are the referee, so use your judgment.

COACHING POINTS

Remember you don't have to focus on all of the following coaching points. Pick the points that are relevant to your session, or decide on your own!

  • Players really do need to listen to their coach and to each other!
  • This warm-up, if used at the start of the season, is a great opportunity for younger players to learn each other's names in small groups.
  • This warm-up is also about building the team, having them bind on will help build that bond.
  • Players should be silent when in their groups, you want to help your young players understand that when you talk - they listen.
  • Allow some players to act as leaders - making the atom calls.
  • Players should look out for their team-mates, it's not just about them.
  • Look out for leaders, players that care about other players and work hard to sort their atom out - you can learn a lot from watching them respond to this warm-up.

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MORE Warm Up DRILLS

Pressure Ball

Make sure your warm-up area is marked out before the players arrive. Depending on the number of players you have at training, mark out several warm-up grids. The size of your grid is a suggestion, but around 10 meters x 10 meters. The bigger the grid, the easier it is for the attackers - they have more space. The smaller the grid, the easier it is for the defenders. Break your players into two groups, pads and passers. One third of your players will be passers; the rest will be on the pads. Have one team quickly demonstrate the game to the other players. In each grid have four players on pads, and two passers. You could have more passers; I'll leave this to your judgment. The job of the players on the pads is to put pressure on the ball carrier, to surround them and stop them from passing the ball. The players on the pads are also trying to force the passers to make mistakes e.g. drop the ball, throw a bad pass etc. The passers have to move the ball around the grid, avoiding the pads. Passers can pass the ball in any direction. Players on the pads should have a little fun, and within reason push the passers around a little. You can award points for each successful pass, and points to the defending team on the pads for every occasion when a ball carrier is surrounded or the ball carriers make a mistake. Don't forget to change the players around, and to give players on the pads a go at passing the ball under pressure. Law Variations: You could insist that passers have only 3 second to make their pass, or risk losing a point to the defending team.

Warm Up

Scoring Zones

Be brief when telling the players the laws of this game, it's important to get them moving quickly. This is not a contact game. Break your players into two teams, giving each team their own colour of bibs if necessary. One team goes to attack, and one to defense. Nominate a Scrum Half for each team. There is no kicking in this game. Normal laws of rugby apply e.g. a forward pass will result in the ball being turned over to the opposition. If an attacking player is touched: they must go to ground, present the ball, two of their teammates ruck over (staying over the ball), and the Scrum Half moves the ball for the next phase of attack.The defence must commit three players to every ruck, or risk an infringement which will see tem pushed back ten meters. The ball must be moved from the ruck within 5 seconds. Make sure that the defense is employing your defensive pattern around the ruck.  Throughout the game the coach call the point of attack e,g, attack RED ZONE or Zone 2. The coach can also call the scoring zone, Score At Zone Yellow or Zone 3. As the game progresses have the players call the point of attack, and the scoring zones - but they must do this early and they must committ to that attack for a period of time. Have attacking players do what they normally would at the ruck. Depending on your goals decide on the number of touches you wish to allow e.g. unlimited is not a bad option as mistakes will be made! On a mistake or after a period of time, turn the ball over so that both teams get time in attack and defence. Don't hesitate to shape the game to focus on your session goals, and let us and other coaches know what worked for you!

Warm Up

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