How do you replicate match behaviour? Coaches and players not just in rugby but across multiple sports ask us this question. We all want to go in to a game as prepared as possible for the challenge we are walking in to. So how do you replicate match behaviour, you have to create challenges as often as possible. This reduces the anxiety felt in a game situation and helps create a team not afraid of the big moments.

Replicating match behaviour is complicated. In our previous blog we spoke about how to try and replicate game situations using the principle of ‘Pressure Practice’. Replicating match behaviour can be difficult due to there being several different behaviours that are required during any activity. In cricket for example there are different behaviours required to perform various roles effectively. A bowler, batsmen, fielder and wicketkeeper have various responsibilities to play to their highest standard. These differing jobs within the same game are also apparent in the game of rugby.

When it comes to training we try to educate players that intensity and concentration is required from the very start. This helps create that match atmosphere we are always looking to achieve in the training sessions. This allows players to deliver on demand when it comes to the real moments in the game. Players have the tendency to drift around the session if intensity is not managed and maintained. These poor practices will often lead in to the game and cause a player to have a poor performance.

Rugby training sessions from our experience often replicates games, with hostility and contact occurring throughout a session. Players will often do their mental and physical warm-up elsewhere allowing them to come to training ready for the full-on match intensity. However, due to the contact elements of the game most training contact sections take place with the use of pads and machines as to limit the chances of injury occurring to the players unnecessarily.

One thing we would suggest is creating two areas; one for warm-ups and one for training sessions. Players use the warm-up area to get mentally prepared for the training session ahead. After they are prepared you go to a ‘business section’, this acts as a test environment; no quarter is given putting all the players under more pressure which will help with performance in the game situation.


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