Imagine Rugby Blogs

Controlling Your Aggression

How to keep your cool but still go in hard

Posted Jul 05, 2011 by Tips and Techniques

Be aggressive in the tackle but make sure it is within the rules

Aggression is a key part of rugby, as it is in a number of other contact sports, but being aggressive isn’t a good thing, unless you can control it. If you cannot control your aggression, then you will find that the majority of your players will find themselves occupying the sin bin on a regular basis, or sent off.

One of the most successful teams to play a controlled, aggressive style of rugby in the last decade, and more, is New Zealand. Not only do they dominate when they have the ball, they dominate without it as well, putting pressure onto the opposition and forcing them to make mistakes or turn over the ball.  Their tackling, rucking and running is all aggressive, but it is controlled, something that a lot of other teams struggle to deal with.

There are five ways that you can incorporate controlled aggression into your team strategies, and they can be done easily at training sessions.

•    Keep training matches short, and encourage the players to be aggressive in attack and defence, almost going with the ‘next score wins’ philosophy, encouraging teams to get the ball and score.
•    Play small-sided games with full contact allowed. This will allow for maximum contact with other players. Try to match up the players so there isn’t too much of an advantage to one side. If one team dominates, add a player to the losing side.
•    Play small-sided games with little/no contact. This will make the players ‘hungry’ for contact, encouraging them to fight for the ball, but legally.
•    Referee games in an overly strict manner. Playing a full contact match, be particularly harsh on tackles, encouraging players to give themselves more leeway in proper matches.
•    Look for players with naturally aggressive tendencies, and try to get other players to learn from them, and similarly, get the aggressive players to learn to control that aggression by watching the controlled players.

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