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My son will not run with the ball

My sons plays for the U9 team, his position is number ten, he was put there due to his kicking power, drop kicking accuracy, etc - I have been teaching him over time to tackle this has helped him build his confidence - what I have been noticing is the fact that when he gets the ball, he wont run - he just refuses to do anything with it...I need to find a way to encourage him the move forward with it, but nothing ever happens, now his own team mates are starting to look down at him, since he has giving the game away far to many time. Help!

He might just feel overwhelmed. I'm not sure if it's the same at that young age, but flyhalf is a position with a lot of responsibility. Some people find decision-making natural and easy and others take longer to process. I know for myself, starting in the back line at in center and learning plays, I struggled. Eventually my coach moved me to flanker and suddenly the game clicked. There was less thinking and more doing. A few years back I started playing for a club team and was one of the more experienced and knowledgeable players just from the amount of time I've been in the game and so they made me flyhalf. It was so much harder than it seems! Although I did learn a lot about how everything in the game fits together, forwards and backs, that I never understood before. I guess my point is, maybe your son would thrive better in a less stressful position. Let him experience success and it will build his confidence. Or simplify his options: Kick or pass. There are different styles of flyhalfs. Some like to run and be creative, but some just get the ball out fast. If there's a strong No. 12 and/or 13 next to him, sometimes the best move is to just pass the ball out fast. No .10 needs the respect of the team to lead effectively so you don't want him to lose it. Then again, flyhalf is a position that comes with time, so maybe he just needs more game time. Hope everything works out!

Also let him know that the best learning comes from making mistakes. Maybe he is fearful or paralyzed by thinking he's going to make the wrong decision and his teammates starting to lose confidence in him isn't helping. But doing something - anything - is better than doing nothing. I knew a basketball coach once that told his players "NBA" - "Next Best Action." It meant, don't dwell on your mistakes but just do the next best thing, and then the next best thing after that. Sometimes you gotta fake it till you make it - pretend to be confident and confidence will follow.

  • I'd encourage the coaches to rotate kids round regularly playing 10 aged 8 or 9 is big pressure when he should be running round engaging with the game for fun

At U9 my advice is for him to have fun. If kicking a ball is fun for him, so be it. Bottom line. Just tell him to chase his kick.

At this age, they are learning to master the ball and later on, when he is much older, you can give him a system of where on the field to do one of three things, Kick/Pass/Run.

For example, in own 22 his options are: kick/run/pass in that order, in opposition 22 = pass/run/kick. Easy system for kids to learn and remember and they will evolve with it and make it their own.

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  • or access our tried and tested plans