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Tale of two coaches (part six) by David Clarke

See previous parts…

Phil sits with his head in his hands. It has been one of the most stressful Sunday mornings of his life. A mug of tea stands cold next to a bottle of beer with only a few sips taken from it.

All around the rest of the family go about their normal Sunday afternoon routines. His youngest son is reorganising his cars, talking to them as if they understand every word he says. Of course, they do not move, so he has to push and manipulate them into the correct position before standing back to admire his work.

His son Rory, is glued to the computer game: “Club Penguin”. Rory skilfully manoeuvres his character around a series of scenarios, interacting with other online members. Rory is the real reason why he has decided not to pack in the coaching job.

Finally, his wife Louise is speaking to him. She does this as she clears up the remnants of breakfast and starts to cook the “late” Sunday lunch.
“We can’t expect the kids to eat so late every Sunday,” she says. “Couldn’t Rory have had something to eat at the rugby club after training.”
Phil does not answer – he knows Rory ate two bags of crisps and a chocolate bar, eschewing the hot dog provided. That’s about all he remembers of Rory after the training session.

“I’m okay Mum, “calls over Rory, “Dad got me some stuff and Piers let me share some of his food too!”
As a debate ensues over eating arrangements, Phil reflects that it was calmer than at 8.30am that morning…

-+-

Phil wakes at 5.30am on Sunday morning. Well, he is not sure, because he does not think he has slept at all. The coming first session goes through his mind again and again. What was it Nigel, the Club Coaching Coordinator had told him? “Be bold, be positive and enjoy.” Nigel had said that approximately 15 minutes after Phil had phoned Nigel to confirm that he was not going to stand down from being coach.

“That’s great news Phil”, a relieved Nigel had replied. “What changed your mind?”
“To be fair, it was in part down to the great recruitment day you put on by the professional club. Rory enjoyed it so much, he begged me to carry on coaching. I think he knew I was thinking of giving it up. Truth is, I am still pretty nervous.”
Nigel was quick to come up with ways to overcome these fears. He put Phil in touch with one of the current Under 11s coaches who had been through the same problems. He sent him a DVD on contact rugby for new players. Finally, just before he uttered the words, ”bold, positive, enjoy”, he said he would be down at the first session to help out.

Phil rehearses the opening minutes of the session again: Quick welcome, make sure every player has a ball between two, and do some simple handling in the grids. “I must have the grids marked out beforehand, I have put the cones in the back of the car already, do I have the balls in there already…” The mental list is similar to the real one he has by the front door, next to his boots, whistle and folder.

-+-

The alarm shocks him. Is it 7.30am already? He slides out of bed and immediately goes down to his list and paperwork. Rory meets him in the hall, already changed. His other son Matthew is also there to greet him, wearing a rugby top. He is desperate to come along to despite the fact he has never shown any previous interest in rugby at all.

By 8.30am, at least 45 minutes before Phil intends to leave the house, he is ready. He texts Nigel and then also his friend Si, who has said he will help, to check they are on course. Nigel replies immediately. He is at the club sorting out pitches. Si texts back that he might be late because he has to drop his eldest off at another club for a match.

At 9.21am, Phil and Rory drive into an almost empty car park. He recognises Nigel’s car and pulls in beside. Rory leaps out and rushes around to collect the kit. Phil’s heart is racing and he becomes all fingers and thumbs as he tries to pick up all the balls, cones and bags at the same time. Eventually, he decides to put it all down and find Nigel. He has not got a clue which pitch he is on.

10.07am: The car park is full and there are cars parking awkwardly along the road outside the club. Phil has his pitch set out, shown Nigel his plan (“Good stuff, but you might find you don’t get through all of it”), and he is welcoming the first few players. There is a queue of parents around him as he passes out pieces of paper to fill in. Meanwhile the boys who have arrived are chasing around with the ball.

10.25am and five minutes before the official starting time, he has 15 boys and two girls. He is still answering questions and passing forms to and fro. Nigel appears. He tells one of the mothers to take over from Phil and then almost drags Phil onto the pitch. No sign of Si!

10.29am Loud blast of the whistle and Phil asks the boys to come in to him.

10.29am and 17 seconds. Phil shouts “Stop kicking the ball and everyone into me”. He has surprised himself.

10.30am Phil spots Si rushing across to him with his son about four paces behind. He turns to the group (there are two more players now) and tells them to get in pairs with a ball.

11.37am Phil wraps up the session after a game of grab tackle and turns to speak to the parents. They are worse than the players at coming over in a group. He starts to say thanks and well done and still some of the mothers are talking whilst one or two of the fathers seem to be wandering off.

11.48am Phil is picking up the cones with Si (who has not stopped apologising for arriving late). Nigel comes over to ask him how the session went. Phil can hardly string together two words at first, but then rushes through everything:

“They are impossible to control. They don’t listen, but the first thing seemed to work okay for a couple of minutes, but it took ages to bring them back in. Then, they kept running off for water and then we tried out a drill, but we had too many players for the drill, so they were mucking around. Eventually we had a game of grab tackle and that seemed to work well, so we played that for the last twenty minutes, may be longer. I don’t know, I don’t think they learnt anything. But they seemed to enjoy themselves, though Rory did say during the drill that is was boring and when were they going to play a game.”

Next time, we see how Doug finds his first session.

Better Rugby Coaching

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One hundred words for rugby coaching by David Clarke

Given that the England soccer manager, Fabio Capello, believes that he only needs 100 words to talk to the players, I set out to produce a similiar list. In fact, I got to 106, but I am sure I have left some out.

The rule for the list is this: ONE WORD IN means ONE WORD OUT. So any suggestions must come with a word to leave out.

Advantage, Backs, Back Play, Ball, Bind, Blind Side, Blitz, Box Kick, Centre, Charge Down, Chip, Clean Out, Clearance, Communication, Concentrate, Conditioning, Contact, Conversion, Cool Down, Corner flagging, Crash Ball, Dead Ball, Decision Making, Decoy, Defensive Line, Development, Drift, Drive, Drop Goal, Drop Out, Dummy, Engage, Fast Hands, First Phase, Five Metre, Fix, Flankers, Flat Pass, Fly Half, Footwork, Forward Pass, Forwards, Foul Play, Free Kick, Fringes, Front Row, Gain Line, Game Plan, Game Sense, Gate, Go Forward, Grid, Grubber, Handoff, Hooker, Inside Centre, Jackle, Jumper, Kick, Knock-On, Laws, Lifter, Lineout, Line Speed, Lock, Loose Head Prop, Mark, Maul, Miss, No 8, Offside, Open Side, Outside Centre, Overlap, Pass, Peel, Penalty, Phase Play, Punt, Quick Ball, Recycling, Restart, Ruck, Scrum, Scrum Half, Seal, Second Phase, Set Piece, Set Play, Sevens, Side Step, Skill, Slow Ball, Spin Pass, Support, Switch, Tackle, Technique, Tight Head Prop, Touch, Try, Turnover, Warm-Up, Wheel, Wing,Yellow Card.

Better Rugby Coaching



Not taking rugby too seriously by David Clarke
April 12, 2011, 1:42 pm
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby | Tags: , , ,

If you look at the top three most viewed videos about rugby on You Tube, there is no rugby played.

First on the list is a clip of a singer who made it to the finals of Britain’s Got Talent, who played rugby for his local side. Second, almost inevitably is the Haka.

Third, there is a very funny video of a Frenchman running onto the pitch in top league game as if he is one of the team. He shakes the referee’s hand, runs the length of the pitch scores a try, converts it and is then arrested.

Much of the rugby we enjoy comes off the pitch. Rugby is common point of contact. Whereas a top try should be the most viewed, it is connectivity of the game through culture that draws many people to the game.

Better Rugby Coaching



Keep the players interested by David Clarke

Here is a good demonstration of how a coach keeps players interested.

The drill itself is easily adapted to rugby training, and could be used for rugby handling, rugby warm ups or rugby footwork.

Better Rugby Coaching