As coaches are developing practice plans, they must consider a number of factors, but most importantly, they should be concerned with safety. As there is potential for injury in specific contact elements of the game of rugby due to the complexity of certain skills, it is appropriate to break down instructions into smaller pieces. This coaching technique is known as Part instruction.

For example: When introducing activities such as scrummaging and tackling, coaches must gradually progress athletes through the learning process.


In situations where safety is a major concern, coaches should instruct the parts of the skill first. The Part-Part-Whole approach to coaching is the safest and most effective method of providing instruction, especially for contact-oriented elements of the sport. In Part-Part-Whole instruction, the coach first introduces and demonstrates the movements with regard to the key factor template. They then assist athletes in developing skills through controlled movements and directions until they have observed an appropriate level of skill mastery. After multiple repetitions and adequate understanding has been observed, it is then safe to progress. The coach then moves into explaining and directing athletes as they practice the whole activity. In the case of a scrum, a coach may explain, demonstrate, and observe the body position prior to scrum engagement, then allow players to bind together in a 1-on-1 sequence, and finish by allowing players to compete by pushing past a set marker. Part-Part-Whole practice gradually introduces key factors so players learn difficult skills in a comfortable and safe environment.