Split your squad into 2 equal strength sides. This is the aggregate strength of your team through the season. Your gameplan should be designed to be executable by these 2 sides.
The bell curve applied to a squad:
10% of your players will be A+ grade (would start on any other team in your league).
15% of your players will be A grade.
25% of your players will be B+ grade.
25% of your players will be B grade.
15% of your players will be C+ grade.
10% of your players will be C grade.
We also like to think of our squad in terms of the strength of each “positional couplet.”
1&3 The Strong Boys
2&7 The Fearless Boys
4&8 The Power Boys
5&6 The Workhorse Boys
9 The Driver
10&12 The Playmakers
13&11 The Gainliners
14&15 The Creators
We want to have each player capable of playing both positions in his couplet.
We don’t want a player who only plays Tight Lock.
We want him to learn the ropes of Eighth-man too.
We don’t want a player who only plays Fly-half.
We want him to learn the ropes of Inside Centre too.
We also want to build depth in each couplet.
The ideal is having 3 players capable of playing A-side minutes in each couplet.
The reality is that in some positions you will play the same 2 players through the season hoping they’ll finish the season un-injured.
We plan on 10% of our squad being unavailable every weekend, due to injury, obligations, sickness etc…
At some point you will be stretched thin at that couplet and so you will either play another player out of position to cover this one, or play a B side player above his grade.
So from the beginning of the season, map out the 3 players that could play this weak couplet and be sure to give that 3rd player some game time off the bench and special attention at practice.