The England front row of (L to R) Gareth Chilcott, Brian Moore and Paul Rendall scrum down during a match in 1988

Even good coaching books can be heavy going for the reader, so how refreshing to discover something packed with sound advice yet as easy to digest as a forkful of rice. Keith Richardson, the former club and national coach who edited the RFU’s Technical Journal from 2001-08, writes as if he were talking to the Gloucester forwards he famously coached.

Thus, although the familiar strands to good coaching are all here – such as do the simple things well, and don’t be afraid to abandon a move if things aren’t exactly right – it’s the details that make this such an enlightening read.

Richardson doesn’t mind going against convention: he advocates a tackled player adopting a frontward body position when recycling ruck ball, and says let your fly-half throw in at the lineout – if he’s the best player at the job. He’s excellent on breakdown and set-piece technique, devising a solution to the age-old scrum problem of how to allow locks to get their heads in without loosening the front row’s bind, and even pointing out the absurdity of choosing a two-syllable word (en-gage) to start the scrum when the obvious word is ‘hit’. “If your pack waits for the full word from the ref, they’ll never get the vital inches of advantage at the first impact,” he says.

Pitched at coaches just below pro level, the book also contains illustrations to show correct technique, useful drills and tips on how to manage a training session – one of which is remember to practise passing both ways, a trap many coaches fall into.

Now retired, Richardson is a Kingsholm regular and plans to publish some analytical pieces on his former club.

RW RATING 4/5

BUY IT AT:  thercm.org RRP:  £18.99  PUBLISHED BY:  Keith Richardson

Got a rugby book or DVD you’d like us to review in the Armchair Zone? Email alan_pearey@ipcmedia.com

This article appeared in the October 2010 issue of Rugby World Magazine

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