Rugby Coaching Blog | Professional Rugby Advice & Coaching

Honest rugby coaches by David Clarke
March 9, 2010, 8:53 am
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby Team Management | Tags: , , , ,

Dropping a player is never a good feeling.

I was going to say it would be great if we could just say “The team is…” and not have to justify any selections afterwards. Actually, the process of telling a player they are not in the team is a good learning experience for both player and coach.

A dropped player needs to know his worth and the reasons for not playing. You want him to continue to improve, even if you think he will never make the team again. Other players will be so close to selection, they might be playing next week. So not a good time to burn bridges.

From your point of view, you can learn much from the dialogue, about the player and about the team as a whole.

In recent weeks I have been speaking to many top coaches about “selection” and communication. Honesty is one word which keeps being mentioned.

Wasps director of rugby, Tony Hanks, said that it was difficult sometimes to be totally frank with a player, but vital not to be dishonest.

I have had a few very tough selection decisions in recent weeks, with, in some cases, very little to choose between two players who are both on the up and improving all the time.

I enjoy the job, but it can be heartbreaking at times!

Better Rugby Coaching


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I believe that it is the coaches obligation towards the dropped player to advise him on why and reasons for letting him out of the side, for instance a strategic change or using him as impact and the reason for that or just to be honest and tell him where his weak points are and together you will make sure that it improves. The longer you keep a player in his comfort zone, the more difficult it will be to get solutions for the problem. So all I do is to advise the player of any weaknesses and make sure that he has faith in me as coach to assist him to rectify the problem and as soon as he has improved, show him your honesty by giving him another chance, but do not put put pressure on him by telling him you are watching him and if, let him then proof his worth. Remain honest with him. Also let the other player involved know what is happening. So, regarding any player who shall be dropped, honesty should be the key word, but do not let them doubt you.

Comment by Johnny

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