Coaching Basics II – Prevent Injuries

Four out of five times injuries in Jugger are absolutely avoidable. While this estimation lacks any empiric basis, I want to stress the issue: Many players act like injuries are problem, which occurs to other people.
While risk perception is a complex psychological field, injury prevention in sport is not. The clue is: For a prevention to work, you have to do it upfront. As I was one of those players myself, staring cold and racing to maximum power in under a heartbeat, at some point my accumulated injuries made me think.

When do Injuries Happen?

There are collections of injuries from Jugger, were players have been reporting their injuries and the situation. According to those polls ( forum (GER), Facebook (EN)), the main sources of injuries appear to be:

  • Lack of coordination and overestimation of skill in tournament situations. This is often seen as the main source of injury
  • Ignorance of safety regulations – which exists for a reason after all
  • Unsafe weaponry, which appears to be the smallest fraction of sources for injury

While having regulations for weapons and field behavior covered in national rule books, only safety of weapons is strictly handled. Safety regulations for field behavior on the other hand are often misunderstood and not exercised probably in training sessions or tournament games. Referees often lack the recognition of dangerous behavior or, if correctly identified, lack the execution of appropriate penalties (author’s view on German Jugger). The main block, body coordination and tournament readiness of the players, is apparently widely ignored by non top teams.

Training-Tournament Stress Gap

Let’s face it: No training of any Jugger team is as hard to your body as a two-day tournament. In most competitive sports, the training sessions are similar or even harder than the actual tournament game. But, most of the teams seem to train with a physical and mental stress level way below of one or the two real matches.

Training of body coordination, agility, and foot stability are sadly missing in most Jugger training sessions. Executing a warm-up or some movement exercises are voluntary at best, let alone exercising safe quick fights. But: Everybody agrees that Jugger is along the most challenging sports they ever encountered.

This is a characteristic I recently came to name the Zombie Paradox” in Jugger and which will get its own article soon; some players are totally fine with “training” there duels at a pace which hardly makes their heart rate rise above 100 ticks while casually strolling about the pit. Some of those then morph to adrenaline junkies when in a live game, committing their maximum performance and get really, really susceptible to injure themselves and others as soon as they are exhausted.

Injury prevention

Knowledge of safety regulations is easily done: Read and explain the rules until your players know, then apply them in training (under your keen and watchful eye) until they understand. On the other hand, stricter refereeing and penalization in tournament matches would make a big change (again; authors view on German Jugger). Don’t blame the rules if you’re not doing it right.

Coordination and estimation of skill is are more difficult matters, but they are closely linked together. Not knowing the personal boundaries of one’s skill often results from a lack of exercising this area consciously. Since we’re executing a lot of different movements simultaneously, both aware and unaware, we simply cannot coordinate all of them sufficiently at once. Thus, for improving coordination we have to reduce the complexity of sequential movements into easy, simple parts. The simpler parts can then be improved and automated, before bringing them back together. Or, in simple words: Train your technique separately to avoid the typical and reoccurring lack of coodination, then add it to your play style.

Also, muscle strength is a great stabilizer for all your squishy joints, vulnerable to damage. Vice versa a lack of strength impedes on all coordinated movements. Strength you can’t coordinate, on the other hand, is litte more than additional burden, so don’t start weight training if you don’t know what you are doing.

Typical injury prevention methods include, but are not limited to:

  • Strengthening of ankles and feet to generally improve stability
  • Use of agility ladders to improve feet coordination and footwork
  • Jumping exercises for strengthening and impact absorbing coordination
  • Stopping and shift of directions while sprinting
  • Falling technique to spread the impact force
  • Check Weapon grip of newcomers, fingers easily get snapped when sticking out

Additionally, the Quick as most endangered position should receive specific treatment:

  • Attacking and Intercepting of other Quicks
  • Scuttling for fast shifts in track
  • Defending the goal against attackers

Please be advised, that techniques for good quicking are not common knowledge and teams have to iron out something useful or ask more experienced players. Quick training requires a lot of self-education at the moment. A bad enforcer may only suck at Jugger till he’s getting better but a bad quick can be a potential safety risk for himself and others.

Exhaustion and Game Pace

The rapid development of Jugger sport has led to a very high game speed. Since we don’t want to try to catch up, but control the game pace (both for injury prevention and tactical field advantage), intensification of your practice matches is mandatory. While tournament conditions are not easily reconstructed in training session, there are some methods to intensify your training games:

  • Play to Win – Counting points in training games will create a competitive situation where players are encouraged to commit to the game. Close matches will be more fun even in training and you can introduce a symbolic and fun price for the winner.
  • Don’t play half-assed – Play with commitment and take a pause when you’re exhausted. Players will learn to estimate their abilities and boundaries. An important trade for a sportsman.
  • Execute tactics and technique – Transition of dueling techniques and field positioning into the actual game reduces chaos and unnecessary physical play. And thus reducing situations with risk of injuries.


Preventing injuries is all about getting body and mind of your players up to speed with the stresses and strains of modern, fast-paced tournament Jugger. Prevention is done upfront, so strengthening and physical exercise in training as well as warm-up before playing matches is essential.

Solid technique and tactics are reducing chaotic situations and thus situations with increased risk. Be aware of your quick and what he’s doing. Most injuries are about footwork. Do footwork.

Let your players learn to estimate situations of unnecessary risks in game. Many situations can be handled only by the player himself. So tell them when, why and how to prevent injuries.

Next Up

  • Exercises for warm-up and Injury prevention (Bit by Bit)
  • Coaching Basics III – Player Health

Until the exercise material for war-ups and footwork is worked over and published, you could check on tackling technique presented by the Irish Juggers (Setanta) at the OnJugger podcast. Be aware, that full rugby tackling is not allowed in the German rule book (grabbing legs is not allowed), but can serve as basis for modified techniques.


Coaching Basics I – Structured Training


This article outlines and explains the term training in sports and its requirements in praxis. It aims to raise awareness to the need of structure in training sessions. Requirements of an organized training are argued.

Requirements on a sports training

Let’s start from an encompassing view and work with some terms and definitions. According to German Wikipedia, training in sport refers to the practice of complex action sequences with the aim of the planned and factual influence on the performance status and performance representation in proofing situations.

  • When applied to Jugger sport, complex action sequences can be understood as the technique and the interplay of the players on the field.
  • Planned and factual impact can be interpreted as a structured and reproducible execution of these techniques and tactics.
  • The performance of a player represents his technical abilities, his tactical ability, and his physical (athletic) condition.
  • Behind the somewhat cumbersome term performance representation in proofing situations hides to what extent a player (team) can convert or even surpass the learned skills under tournament conditions.

In summary, the requirements for a Jugger training are learning and preservation of Jugger-relevant technique, team tactics and athletics and their execution under tournament conditions.

Categories and Terms

For a better understanding of the published articles, the following terms are defined in the Jugger coaching context. Based on the analysis of training in sports, these terms will define the skill categories for the structured Jugger training.

  • Technique describes one’s own playing ability. It includes the weapon handling and footwork ability as well as the execution of recurring game elements such as pinning mechanics, Quick fights, etc.
  • Tactics describes the coordinated interplay of several players, with the aim to gain an advantage on the field. Examples are positioning and fighting behavior of players in outnumbered situations or crossing maneuvers in line-play.
  • Athletics include the physical performance of a player. Athletic factors are condition(strength, endurance, speed), sprint technique, bounce, non-duel legwork as well as overall coordination and agility.

These three aspects should be covered and advanced in every training session. At best, every session contains some exercise for each of the fields. In time you can tap all aspects of the game, then you can go deeper into the details. Do not forget to repeat often.

It’s also important not to forget the fourth and unwritten requirement: Fun!

Training Structure

A simplified exemplary Structure for a training sessions.

  1. Warmup
    Before performing exercises of playing, ones body and mind should be warmed up. This involved getting muscles warm, a high pulse at least once and to activate the typical motorics the players use on the field. Basic injury preventing exercises should be included in the warm-up.
    Longer and more detailed warmup will include physical exercises and personal technique, but it’s better for a introducing structures to start with a simple warmup and doing it every time.

  2. Technique
    Exercises for building good weapon handling and footwork. Even the best players are advised to revise and train their technique regularly. Explicitly training technique enables the players to perform complex action sequences (remember?) intuitively in field play.

  3. Tactics
    Performing your weapon skills in an organized manner with other players on the field. Positioning of the players and situational shifts in play-style will have an factual influence on the game. But only when specifically trained.

  4. Game
    Playing the actual game (or some few-player alternatives) will combine all the Jugger relevant skills. The isolated trained techniques and tactics will have to be transitioned into the actual game. Also, all aspects have to work together at some degree. Don’t forget to enjoy yourself while playing!

  5. Cooldown
    After the training, some kind of soft exercise should be performed to reduce muscle tension and relaxing the body. Even when it’s short, it should be done so that the players won’t go home with the intensity of a Jugger game in their heads and motions. “Tryhards” sometimes do some kind of physical training before cooling down. When intense physical exercises were performed during the training, stretching  must be mandatory.

This should be enough structure to design a basic training sessions or improvise when nothing was prepared. All presented topics and more sophisticated training structures will be covered in a later articles, alongside with an exercise catalog and how to arrange them.

About Structures

Using a simple structure with lots of repetition in the sessions is very important for you success, when you introduce training to a new team. A regular procedure of warm-up and cool-down helps a lot bringing those folks together, focused and reduces injuries. This ritualization of the sessions takes a lot of  work off the coach, who then has time to do other, more important things.

Next up

Coaching Basics II – Reoccurring injuries and preventive measures


Launching Coach Blog

Welcome everyone…

…to the Jugger coach blog. Since I’m missing a website where Jugger players can get and share information on Jugger Training and how to exercise good Jugger training sessions, well… lets start this!

What is the Jugger Coaching Blog?

It’s an approach on the missing coach schooling opportunities in Jugger sport.

Sadly, after over 20 years of played Jugger (in GER) this topic hasn’t been developed much more than a rough concept state. And with reasons, too:
Jugger, even after all this time, is so fast-evolving, that any book or seminar on Jugger training would be outdated even before it could reach publication. The international community doesn’t work together, because of missing multi national communication and willing bodies . Therefore, international exchange is mostly limited to player-to-player communication. At last, there are so many aspects to this sport (fighting- AND field sport, remember?) that it is a huge undertaking to collect and asses all the information spread to over hundred teams worldwide.

All this reasons, and the fact that I tried to compile a comprehensive Jugger training manual for the last three years, led me to the belief that there has to be a more agile approach to spread the word of sporty Jugger training. Many pages of unfinished training manual won’t benefit anybody, if they are idling on my drives.

So, what’s the plan?

Two plans, actually:

  • On this blog I will successively publish the collected and assessed Jugger training compendium so far, carried together and assessed by and from several coaches. The material will be reworked one more time and is being published on a Request for Comment basis.
  • Dedicated players and coaches will (hopefully) see this blog and have the urge to contribute. By using the posted guides in their training and improve on the material with their feedback or by requesting an authors account on this blog and writing new posts directly. There are many uncovered fields, like weapon techniques and tactic design, where basic guides are still missing.

All contributors will be be most welcomed. Since this should work out as an international project, all topics will be held in English initially, but there is room for translations of course.

When do I need this?

When you are a Jugger player and you want to morph yourself and your ragged bunch of “T-Shirt Juggers” into a sporty tournament team, this is the place to be. Well… actually it’s one of the only places to get information on Jugger training besides some overhauled training game collections.

The work is and will be focused mostly on new and intermediate Jugger teams. I reason that top teams will have covered most of the presented topics. Humans have been known to do all kind of sports in their time and existing knowledge has to come from someone.
Since over 80% of the teams seemingly doesn’t have that knowledge or skill, the goal is to reach exactly those teams to build sporty Jugger clubs with smaller injuries quotas.

Who’s behind this?

Most of the material was collected and revised by Aaron (GER, Juggers Jugg, Flying Juggmen), Mark (IRE, Setanta), myself (GER, Pink Pain, Gossenhauer) and the JAGS Workgroup, but many other committed players and coaches have helped willingly or unknowingly since the first adaption of Blood of Heroes.

Quality Gates

All the released articles will have passed one of the following quality guidelines:

  •  The material comes from a verifiable, scientific or otherwise reliable source.
    This will be mostly articles related to athletics, medicine or taken from Non-Jugger coaching education.
  • Good Practice approach
    Experienced coaches have actually tested the methods with their teams and have given their consen. Most likely this will have been some Jugger lab rats in certain teams.

However, Best Practice approaches can’t be given yet. Many exercises and methods will be improved in the future, hopefully with your contribution. But we have to start somewhere.

So far…

… till now. I hope you will give a lot of feedback on the future articles. Knowing, that

“[…] there is no real alternative to Jugger.” (Bucki)



Felix (Gnom)