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The Season (2): Rethinking Training – Too Much or Not Enough?

What is an appropriate amount of team training sessions per week for a kids' rugby team? I’ve been battling with this question for the U11 All Stripes, trying to strike a reasonable balance. Balance is Better philosophies indicate overtraining is a BIG problem, yet we want kids to be active. So, what is the right answer?

In previous seasons, the All Stripes stuck with one training per week, mostly due to my commitment to coaching adult teams (that is all consuming I tell ya). My co-coach was also pretty busy, and it seemed the kids were too. However, some teams were training twice and seemed to manage okay. And we were getting pumped week in week out last year, which isn’t fun. So it got me thinking that we need to look at options…


At the start of this season, I took a deeper dive into our players' weekly lives. About half of the All Stripes players are involved in other sports like tennis, basketball, indoor cricket, swimming, martial arts, to name a few. While some only do rugby and could probably use more activity in their routine – hint hint. Thus, we decided to trial a new approach to cater to both individual needs and overall team development.

  1. Optional Session: On Mondays, we offer an optional session for those who have the time and desire for extra training, providing flexibility for players with other commitments. About two-thirds make it – some are double booked.

  2. Team Session: On Wednesdays, we have our ‘mandatory’ training for all players. Everyone attends.

We are four weeks in, and to be honest, I initially found having only two-thirds of the squad on Mondays frustrating due to my long-held belief that ‘everyone needs to commit to everything.’ However, I’ve learned to adopt a ‘glass half full’ approach, focusing on those present and providing more one-on-one attention.

We are looking to continue this approach for a bit longer. I’m not sure if it’s the right approach, but it's worth exploring.

Saturday Match Report

Well, it was a déjà vu experience from last week. We conceded in the first minute, found ourselves down by 30-odd points just after half-time, and then made a remarkable late charge, scoring four tries to get within 10 points. This pattern of sluggish starts followed by strong finishes has been a trend over the past two years. I’ll have to go deep into the well of mental skills training for 10 year old's, to help us start stronger. More on that another time.

(Side note: we are the only team from the club that trains on a Wednesday—12 teams train on a Thursday—it seems traditions are hard to break).

This Blog is inspired by real team experiences and events. Identities are kept anonymous and some artistic liberties are taken for storytelling purposes.


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