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Dilemma! | Coaching Adults

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  • pickeringr05

    I`m looking to get some help and advice on my current coaching situation within my club.

    I took over the coaching reigns this season at a rugby club (a senior team). The coach prior to me had been there quite a while and had his own way of coaching however my approach is completely different and it is taking time to get the players to adapt to it. My approach is all about getting the players to work out how to play the game and make decisions, I try to give them the tools and let them decide how to use them.

    Some of the issues are that it`s a very young side and we don`t have many natural leaders therefore decision making is just not happening, only when we have a stoppage in the game and we get to discuss how we should play is when we start to perform.

    The players enjoy my sessions and seem to be buying into the way we want to play but they just aren`t producing the goods at present! I don`t want to be directing things from the sidelines at all but I`ve heard mutterings that this needs to happen! Should I be doing this (I don`t feel that this is the way forward at all, even for a short time!). There have been spells of progress but then it goes completely awry and we capitulate, especially against sides we should be performing better against!

    Any ideas on how to change the mindset or is it just a long process that we have to bide our time with?


  • AndyEdwards

    Hi Roger. My advice would be to carry on with your style. You say the players enjoy your sessions and are buying in to the new way of doing things. It is probably a case of being patient - that was certainly the case when I found myself in a similar situation. You may well have read this before http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2015/dec/03/bath-mike-ford-team-freethinkers but it is well worth a read. All the best!

  • First rugby clubs are very slow to adapt and don't like change!!!  Unlike top level your not required to produce results straight away as it's an amateur sport so it requires different approaches. I coach both 2nd team and u12s and even though they are miles apart my approach is very similar and they have to be! The only difference is language mainly. 

    Mind you in some respects I find it better coaching children as they want to learn and listen and are open to change! Adults young or old are harder as you have to break old habits.... How long have you been involved for now? 

    Get to know your player how they work, who needs a cuddle, who needs a chat, who needs a kick up the bum and by doing this they will then respect you and want to work with you.

    Another important fact is TIME and a clear Message do not forget this it's essential. Also do not be afraid to regress what your doing I. Whole Part Whole. Explain the what's, whys, how's ect and reenforce. 

    Communication is key take time to talk but also allow a lot of time doing and allow them to feel, smell and experience what you have discussed. This allows them the full opportunity to understand and allows them a greater chance to buy into what you want.

    Another is to empower them in decision making but also give them what you want and then convince them it was their idea (but it's really whet you want) hope that makes sense?

    Plan your sessions and then spend time before you go out and talk about it to your players even use videos from games to show... Ensure what you show is what you want to cover in the sessions. 

    Finally I've exceptionally vocal I can't help it I love a shout during a game I've had to curtail my shouting. I've done this by taking a water proof clipboard with me and I stand half way and I make notes for half time. I still shout but only when they are not doing as they should be or to highlight an over lap... Old habits. Be your self don't change.

    if there's more you'd like to chat about I'm on Twitter @tayles85

  • EllyNetball

    Sounds familiar, Roger ... I don't know if you saw the blog where I expressed almost exactly the same concerns:


    I've since heard that the players REALLY enjoy the training sessions and my style of coaching and yet can't seem to pull off a complete performance - at least with any consistency.  We did have a win before Christmas and I thought "this is the start" ... however, first game of 2016 at the weekend and we lost by one goal to a team we had beaten by 4 goals at the start of our season in September.  Some of the players are giving everything at every match whereas others drift in and out, losing focus, not able or willing to stick with the game plan - perhaps thinking they know best???.  We're a small squad so can't afford to lose any players and it seems, now, that it's not just me who is frustrated and busy looking for different ways to approach matters ... the captain is echoing similar thoughts and feelings.

    My next planned step is to give all the players a Mindset Check-Up just to see where heads are at!

    Sorry I haven't given you any advice on how to break through, Roger ... just know that you're not alone out there! 

  • pickeringr05

    Hi Elly.

    That's useful thanks. I'm keen to turn things around and  convinced I'm taking the right steps it's just frustrating at the minute. 

    Ive got a really supportive network including the club chairman who totally backs my approach and feels we are making progress although results presently don't suggest so!

  • pickeringr05

    Thanks Chris. It's actually quite the opposite in terms of change as everybody seems to be embracing it, unfortunately the results aren't reflective of it! We are a very young side without a real leader and although progress has been made with the lower teams it seems to be taking longer for the first team. 

    I'm confident we'll get there it's just frustrating at the minute and I was looking for ideas on how to speed up the process.

  • pickeringr05

    A really useful article and given my background is rugby league even more relevant as I am currently coaching rugby union. 

    I'm trying to be patient and the players often talk in the right way in terms of our training sessions but come match day they seem to revert to how they've always done it and lose direction, structure and control. I very rarely shout and bawl from the touch line or at half time (only selectively for impact) as o feel that the players should be the decision makers not me!

  • pippaglen

    Hi Roger,  

    Great article. It is difficult when you have taken over another coaches roll, I found the same when starting in basketball 2 years ago. Remember not all players learn at the same speed or in the same way, always ask for understanding,  get players to demonstrate. Iv always found by incorporating a fun game into the task they will find it easier to grasp concept soon enough. Small sided games are a good way to find out who's the leaders this also gives you the chance to walk round each game and give player ideas and tips.  Shouting from the side line for me unless it's in an actual game don't shout pull the whole team in,  not all player will hear you from the side line this could frustrate them and put them off.  Encourage your players, give them praise when they have achieved the task you've set them this will give them the boost they need,  don't give them too many pointers only 1 or 2 pointers to learn,  make sure you watch from different angles this way you can see all players.  Always ask for feedback at the end, what they did or didn't like,  how could you improve, talk with them.  most of all Enjoy. 

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