Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Match Day: How much coaching is too much coaching?

I've watched hundreds of rugby matches, and every coach has their own particular style .

Here are a few diverse examples ranging from maximum coach involvement to minimum:

  • Two coaches on either sideline, communicating by radio to call each and every phase of play , offensively and and defensively, verbally communicating with captains and decision makers non-stop.

  • The coach who yells non-stop, positive, negative, pretty much everything there is, moving up and down the sideline with the play.

  • More reserved, the coach who moves up and down the sidelines, dialoging at stoppages, words of encouragement here and there. On-pitch meetings during injury stoppages and in the try-zone (when a try has been scored)

  • Occasional try-zone only intervensions.

  • Use of messengers (ie coach doesn't personally address players during matches, rather, he/she uses trainers, subs, or water carriers to convey information)

  • Silently watching from behind the try-zone. Half time adjustments only.

  • The international coach, in the stands during a match.

What's your preffered method and why? Do you believe that you, personally, adhere to the method you prefer?

--- Coach


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OBG said...

First off, great blog.

I'm the reserved coach who paces and at times offers teaching points and rarely makes a call because of something I see. Although I don't like it. I'd rather just observe and let my captain and the players play. Because if I've given them the tools necessary, they should be able to do that.

But I just can't help myself. But unless someone tapes my mouth shut, I'll still offer things from the sideline.

The one thing I do stand by, though, is that I will never argue with their on-field decisions. Even if we're down 2 and it's the 78th minute and we've been awarded a penalty 15 meters out in the center and the hooker decides to have a go. I'll disagree, but I won't argue. It is their game and not mine.

phillyrugger said...

I am also the reserved, pacing coach. ..most of the time. This season I found myself yelling more from the sidelines and thought "oh my god, I'm becoming THAT coach". Looking back, most of my yelling was frustration with the most horrible refereeing I've seen recently, but expressing my frustration just creates bad energy that the players pick up on. It's something I'm working on. I can't ask my players to keep a level head with the ref if I'm unable to myself.

I agree with OBG - I never fight the decisions my players make on the field. If it isn't something I agree with, I ask them why they chose it and try to identify which tools I need to give them to make better decisions in the future. I think questioning their decision making undermines player confidence and creates even more decision making problems going forward.

Anonymous said...

I'm really new at coaching, and just being out of college I find myself often being a little too involved from the sidelines (maybe because I'm still used to watching the game like a teammate?). Its something I'd like to work on next season, and I share 'phillyruggers' pain on the ref front, couldn't we get some more professional refs for women's college games? Anyway thats an entirely different discussion.

As a player I know that I appreciated both types (lots of talk, little talk) of coaching, and I really think that its in a coaches personality; but I must say that some of the most inspired coaching that I recieved in college was by a non-vocal coach giving feed-back and a pep-talk at halftime, its one of my most intense rugby memories. That being said it can be extremely helpful to recieve a bit of in-game help (if you forget to cover touch for example, or need a reminder to anchor the fringe!), and who doesn't like to hear chearing from the sideline when they've done something good?! So I definitely believe that there can be benefits to both styles, and I'm not sure yet what type of coach I will become!

Thats my 2 cents anyway.