Rugby Coaching Blog | Professional Rugby Advice & Coaching

Don’t read this if you are already a great coach by David Clarke

What sort of coach are you?

I can easily patronise with what I am about to say, so be warned!

Are you the sort of coach who listens to others with every intention of changing what you do IF you think they have said something worthwhile.

Read that sentence again: “with every intention”. That is a very open minded coach. There are dangers with being that sort of coach. You can become unpredictable and confusing to your players.

But it is a healthy attitude to take if you want to develop yourself. As long as you carefully integrate new thoughts in your planning and action, then the positives keep you and your coaching fresh.

Anecdotally I reckon that only one in ten coaches is capable of this. Am I right?

Some areas of the game are “off-limits” for new ideas for some coaches. Imagine telling a former tight head about how to scrummage…

These “off-limits” areas are perhaps justified in the case of a tighthead – well only just. But take an area like tackling. In an area where safety is paramount, coaches will often think back to their own experiences of “learning” to tackle and not listen to new ideas. “I was taught this way, and it was safe…”

And finally: there are coaches who like to have thought of the technique/tactic before. It is a challenge to be told something that they don’t do already. I regard myself as quite open. It goes with the job. I hear new ideas everyday. But I sometimes have to check myself when I hear something I think I should know. I need to listen and not reject.

You never stop learning. Every great coach knows that. That’s why you have kept reading!

Better Rugby Coaching


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I suggest a new title to your post:
Read this if you are a great coach! lololol

Comment by mrrcabral

I am always leraning and do always ask my players what they think about anad after each training session I give them, we discuss, 5/10 minutes. to always get better.
From 6 position in the University Division B Tournament we upgraded to fourth, aiming 3/or 2 position the second semester.
Cheers, Tim.

Comment by Tim

I have been coaching since 1974. From the top to the grass roots. The time when I either think there is nothing new to learn or I know everything, will be the time to finish.
The fascination of coaching to me, is the fact that very little in rugby is new. However, the way innovative coaches employ topics and implement them at vital times, to me, is what coaching is about. Long may it continue.

Comment by David Wiggins

Yes, ask questions and listen to the replies. Now the greatest challenge of all… What do you ask? Do your (especially younger) players exist in a culture in which they are unafraid/accustomed to giving their opinions? How to expand your questions so that the exercise is worthwhile to both parties. If this sounds patronising, read the chapter by Wayne Smith in Lyn Kidman’s book, and see the kind of problems he had in phrasing his questions. It ain’t easy folks.

Comment by Steve Johnson

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