By any mimes necessary: Eddie Jones wants England to act out in training

  • Head coach borrows mime training from NBA and NFL
  • ‘You can’t talk, you show them what they have to do’

Eddie Jones is introducing the art of mime to England training sessions in an effort to improve his squad’s non-verbal communication and adjust to player welfare initiatives that limit contact training.

Rather than watching Charlie Chaplin classics, Jones has borrowed the idea of mime training – which bans players and coaches from talking – from the NBA, having consulted with basketball and NFL coaches. The head coach sees the practice as a means of keeping sessions fresh and lightening the load on his squad.

Jones revealed he briefly experimented with mime training at England’s previous camp and will employ the non-contact method again as he takes his squad to Jersey next week for a five-day get-together before the autumn internationals against Argentina, Japan, New Zealand and South Africa.

“We have been looking at a little bit of the stuff in America,” said Jones, who listed the Milwaukee Bucks’ Mike Dunlap, and Matt LaFleur of the Green Bay Packers as coaches he has spoken to. “I was talking to the NFL and NBA and the amount of training time is being cut all the time, particularly in the NBA. One of the things they do is mime training where they are not allowed to talk so we are going to have a go at doing that to see if we can accelerate the learning of the players.

“You can’t talk, you show them what they have to do. We experimented a bit at the last camp, they have got to do it without talking. It is eye contact, being able to understand each other’s body language. It was pretty good, we have got to test it a bit more. Nothing is instant.

“Every sport at the moment is being modified in the physical load you can do, maybe cricket even, like fast bowlers don’t bowl as much do they? Baseball pitchers don’t pitch as much. There’s greater welfare care in every sport and so the training, the amount of physical training you can do is being lessened. So you’ve got to find out other ways of teaching the game.”

In light of a recent documentary featuring the World Cup winner Steve Thompson, who has been diagnosed with early onset dementia, and comments from his former captain Dylan Hartley on the need for more to be done to help retired players, Jones acknowledged the need to constantly review the sport’s safety measures, such as restrictions on contact training.

“World Rugby has been very diligent, they have made the game safer and we have got to continue to keep making the game safer,” he added. “I don’t think there is a sport in the world that doesn’t want to be safe. Rugby, because of the nature of the sport, is a physical collision game. We need to keep looking at how we make it safer, how we keep looking after the players better.”

Jones also addressed the forthcoming autumn internationals and spoke of the need to strike a balance between achieving results against four nations England could conceivably face at next year’s World Cup – Japan and Argentina are in the same pool as Jones’s side – and keeping things up his sleeve.

“The big thing for me is to make sure tactically we keep moving but we don’t show our hand,” he said. “It is like a contradiction now, you want to keep moving the team forward but you don’t want to show the opposition what you are doing.

“There’s a bit of a cloak and dagger now, 12 months out, in terms of how much you want to show. And that means winning some games and being good in games to keep the players thinking you’re on the right track.

“If you are too cloak and dagger and you don’t have good results, the players think: What’s going on here?’ And it’s hard to get them to believe. But if you show them too much, you give the opposition too much. So it’s this balancing act at the moment. So it’s the most fun time for coaching.”


Gerard Meagher

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
England can rewrite history by beating New Zealand, says Eddie Jones
Eddie Jones said England could rewrite history by beating New Zealand at Twickenham next Saturday

Gerard Meagher at Twickenham

12, Nov, 2022 @8:41 PM

Article image
Eddie Jones adamant England are still ‘moving in the right direction’
The England head coach has accepted full responsibility for the 27-13 defeat to South Africa but insisted his team remain on course for the World Cup

Gerard Meagher at Twickenham

26, Nov, 2022 @9:47 PM

Article image
England ‘right to go for the draw’ with New Zealand, says Owen Farrell
England captain Owen Farrell defended the decision to take a 25-25 draw with New Zealand at Twickenham rather than push for a win

Gerard Meagher at Twickenham

19, Nov, 2022 @9:47 PM

Article image
England’s Ellis Genge gives Japan rough lesson in art of scrummaging | Andy Bull
The Bristol strongman was at the heart of everything his side did and showed why Eddie Jones puts so much faith in him

Andy Bull at Twickenham

12, Nov, 2022 @8:41 PM

Article image
‘He was fantastic’: Eddie Jones thanks Jonny Bairstow for motivational talk
Cricketer Jonny Bairstow has given a pep talk to the England rugby union squad at the invitation of head coach Eddie Jones

Gerard Meagher

05, Nov, 2022 @6:00 PM

Article image
‘Not good enough’: Eddie Jones says ‘silly’ mistakes cost England victory
The England coach said his players will hold ‘uncomfortable conversations’ this week after a shock 30-29 defeat by Argentina at Twickenham

Gerard Meagher at Twickenham

06, Nov, 2022 @7:05 PM

Article image
South Africa’s power game condemns England and Jones to another defeat
The world champions brushed England aside 27-13 at Twickenham to increase the pressure on Eddie Jones

Robert Kitson at Twickenham

26, Nov, 2022 @7:59 PM

Article image
Eddie Jones facing review amid RFU concern over England’s autumn results
The RFU described England’s campaign as ‘really disappointing’ and the head coach should learn his fate within the next two weeks

Gerard Meagher

27, Nov, 2022 @6:00 PM

Article image
Eddie Jones’s England suffer familiar failings after another slow start | Gerard Meagher
Defeat by Argentina means another campaign begins on the wrong foot as coach’s charges struggle to find cohesion

Gerard Meagher

07, Nov, 2022 @8:00 PM

Article image
Eddie Jones makes peace with clubs over England training injuries
Eddie Jones has made his peace with Premiership clubs after several players returned injured from an England training camp this month before European Champions Cup matches

Paul Rees

29, Oct, 2016 @9:00 PM