Rugby Coaching Blog | Professional Rugby Advice & Coaching

The five best sports to learn from (4) by David Clarke
January 19, 2009, 10:11 am
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby Coaching, Rugby Team Management


How can golf help you learn more about rugby coaching?

Here are four great reasons:

1.       Goal kicking

Setting up and kicking a goal has many similarities to striking a golf ball. The mechanics require a swing through a stationery ball. Like a golf swing, rhythm, tempo and follow through play as much a part as where you strike the ball and the force at impact.

2.       Mindset

The mind is a powerful force which can easily upset a simple situation by casting doubts on the ability of the player. The “top two inches” influence rugby players in many aspects of the game. Using some of the mental imagery techniques from golf, breathing methods and positive thinking, players can allow their ability to shine through.

3.       Approach and culture

Golf is steeped in culture. Sometimes we can see this culture as stifling or somewhat archaic. However the etiquette of golf provides a set of rules by which the game is played, but they are not laws.  It is a cultural appreciation of “how we do things around here”.

Rugby players actively respond to a strong culture. Think of playing a Maori team. They have a great self belief, and that comes from many years of building the right environment. An etiquette provides consistency to the approach to the game .

4.       Course management

A great golfer will plan out his round. As each shot is made, he adjusts his plan, and he remains focused on making the best of each situation. If he finds himself in the rough, then there is no point in going for the green if the risks are too large. He won’t be swayed by his mistakes or good play by his opponent.

A rugby team can also follow a plan, managing their course of progress up the pitch. They might not run the ball from the 22m area from slow second phase ball, or run tap penalties when they have the wind at their backs. This patient approach allows the team to win over the length of the game. It builds on small targets, perhaps in terms of field position or types of possession.


Tomorrow I will look at the “national” sports of Aussie Rules and American Football in the last in the series.


1 Comment so far
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Brilliant…Golf is possibly one of the most difficult “mechanics” sports on the planet! I can relate almost every rugby action to the fundamentals I’ve learned in golf! I also applaud you for bringing in the issue of “mindset” in regards to the game. In my opinion, being mentally tough is almost (as if not more important) than physical toughness (although it certainly helps!!)
Having coached players from Canada to NZ, I also have to say to that ice hockey is also a brilliant game for players to pursue. I find that players in Canada with a strong hockey background have numerous advantages.
The biggest one is that they are physically tough and able to withstand tremendous punishment.
They all have tremendous core strength and as such are less likely to become injured.
Their ability to swerve is ingrained.
Their ankle strength is extreme (harder cuts, less sprains)
Decision making under pressure is very good
THe concept of shooting a puck a passing a ball are almost the same (Although on a different plane).

Comment by mikey Stott

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