Rugby Coaching Blog | Professional Rugby Advice & Coaching


Wayne Smith, All Black coach, inspires by David Clarke

Wayne Smith
Last night I was at a seminar at the Ospreys where Wayne Smith talked about decision making. Wayne is currently the “backs” coach for the All Blacks, though this title is vague in the sense of the range of work he does with the team.

His message is simple: decision makers have make their own decisions, so give them to power to make them.

He does this through a range of mediums, with questioning and games as the key pillars in his approach.

He is also a man who invites integrity and displays an outward calmness. His measured presentation recognised the difficulties that any team faces, even one as talented as the New Zealand team. It is not by talent alone that the All Blacks are regarded as the number one team to beat.

I took eight pages of notes.
Better Rugby Coaching

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The common faults of coaches by David Clarke
February 11, 2009, 2:41 pm
Filed under: Dan Cottrell, Rugby Coaching | Tags: , , ,

I have been reviewed several times in the last few weeks as part of my rugby professional development as a coach.

Here are my action points.  They are a list of “to do more of”, than to do!

1. Use the players in the demonstration.
2. Alternatively, set exercise going before getting feedback and making
rugby coaching points.
3. Develop questions rather than ask empty questions.
4. Check for engagement of players.

I was filmed as well, which helped me identify these points.

I have in front of me a list of common faults of rugby coaches. There are 43 in all. I am going to drip feed this into the blog over the next couple of weeks.

One fault that is not there though: Admitting that you make mistakes. Is that the toughest and yet most common fault?



A different space in rugby coaching by David Clarke

We understand the word “space” to mean something where there is nothing. In rugby, it is where there is no defence.

In rugby coaching, it has a deeper meaning and you might be utilising this space already.

I am thinking about space in rugby coaching delivery. Giving the players space to consider their actions and evaluate the solutions. Creating that space in the first instance means shutting up, standing back, allowing a player or players to discuss.

We can create better “space” by building an environment where different players can express themselves in different ways. Instead of getting the players to just answer questions verbally, you can get them to show you.

This week I asked some players to tell me where to attack the defender. The more lucid talked about “inside shoulders” or “weak shoulders”, perhaps “branches, twigs and trunks”. Others stood back, worried they would not know the jargon.

I changed my approach, stood back and said to a quieter player: “Show us”.

I know that many of you do this without thinking. However it did make me “think” how I can create more space for the players to express themselves and how I can remove the walls that enclose them. “Show me” is different to “Tell me”.  And instead of “Show me”, why not “Experiment”? A little less intimidating to a more nervous because their demostration might not work, and that doesn’t matter so much since it is an experiment.

How does it work for you?