Physical education teacher, he takes advantage of his holidays to share his ground game expertise and contacts with several professional clubs, including the Section. “We do tatami-rugby, that is to say that we work in the dojo on things that we will reinvest in the field. It’s a permanent back and forth between the two, ”assures the former high-level judoka. The Béarn forwards coach illustrates: “I had identified a presentation problem. The players didn’t use their lower limbs at all and only worked on their upper body in the rucks. It’s very rugby, a little nag. We can be more efficient and faster with other techniques from other sports”.
“Some do what they can”
This Tuesday morning in July, the session is dedicated to defensive work and the contest, with the mandatory “passage through the tunnel” to steal the ball from a tackled player. Three groups of four boys face each other and then compete in two against two. “For me, it really makes the magnifying glass. We see the details, if the guys put the three steps of acceleration to go scratch, how they offer the balloons, details Pierre Begon. I try to provide specialists, coaches and players, with the little details that could help them progress”.
The discourse is as passionate as the man, who speaks at regular intervals. “The rule allows moving a bit on the ground to release the ball,” he tells the forwards. Between two workshops, Begon leads by example with Thomas Domingo. “The goal is to cross our experiences and our points of view on attitudes, the rules of rugby. […] During these sessions, we can focus on all the little details and take the time to be precise with the players on our expectations, those of the refereeing corps, appreciates the former international pillar. We work on small cells and more closed situations. Then, on the field, we transcribe it with pure and hard rugby”. On the tatami, the contacts are already rough and the bodies waltz.
According to the instructions, the opponent must be upright or quickly put on the ground in an attempt to recover ammunition. The mouth guards are out and the tackles are slamming. “This afternoon, there will be more intensity and speed. With these factors and the stress, you can make bad technical choices”, warns Pierre Begon at the end of the morning session. Who clarifies his thought aside: “Already, when we put time constraints, by imposing 4 tackles in 8 or 12 seconds for example, we see that some are doing what they can. It is their limit of the high level, it is up to us to make them progress”.
Repeat and repeat again
Completely filmed, training in the dojo will be dissected by the Bearn staff. The rest of the day will take place in a better known place, on the lawns of the training center. A few hours later, the work and the ideas are still fresh. In more real-world conditions, players will apply what they saw earlier. “Outside, there is the weight, the running distance, it changes everything. In the dojo, it’s sanitized, the clinch starts with one arm and there is no collision at 32 km. But it allows you to decontextualize in order to recontextualize. It’s fundamental,” judge Begon, convinced like Domingo that repetition is the key to success.
“I want to bring that to rugby. It allows you to have a background and then to find solutions in the present moment […] There are passing skills but also wrestling: we can put tackles, rucks there, ”testifies the first. “Players sometimes tell us that we work on things that don’t happen on the pitch. I tell them that in training, when we review our launches, we are not in a match situation either. Everything is beautiful, perfect. Then, in competition, you have to adapt. It’s the same there.” If he inoculates almost daily booster shots to his group on postures in the confrontation zones, Thomas Domingo is happy to sometimes find Pierre Begon with whom “he understands each other well and shares the same vision of things”.
According to the speaker, the players are also not unhappy to see him: “We are leaving their usual working environment. They do 45 weeks with the same coaches in the year so I bring another perspective, new instructions, it boosts”. Of course that is changing. So much so that the dojo session ends with a breathing exercise and a… judoka salute.