Skill and the Philosophy of Play

Free-Kick

Asking the questions science has yet to answer.

When the term skill is mentioned, technical skills such passing, offloading in contact, kicking etc comes to mind. Within in a team sport like Rugby though, we are aware of  mini-unit skills (set pieces) and the skill of executing tactics and strategy. Some evidence is now available for the most effective technical components of a skill, but not so much on mini-unit skills, unit skills, and the skill of executing tactics and strategy.

Throughout a player’s career or developmental pathway, emphasis and priority will be placed on certain skills over others, for example, contact skills vs non-contact skills, attack vs defence, technical over game strategy etc. This emphasis ratio or priority list is most likely governed by the team’s philosophy of play. This philosophy of play seems evident in the recent internationals, where teams are focussed on set-piece play and contact for example, compared to others teams who may run the ball more. Some teams also have a good balance. This philosophy of play is not only evident at the international level. I’m sure we all have an understanding of team’s philosophy of play within our respective local competitions.

So, what if we want to change the philosophy?

How do we go about this?

Is finding the right balance the way to go?

Are we negatively influencing a player’s development if we don’t get the balance right?

Do you have real life experience on how you changed the philosophy of play within a team? Please let us know your thoughts.

SH

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