Thats it folks! pre season is gone for another year and not a drill insight!

Thats it folks! pre season is gone for another year and not a drill insight! 

So thats it all that hard work over the summer should have prepared the team for a productive season! I've read so any books and listened to lots of podcasts to keep me professionally topped up. But a few books absolutely stand out (I will post a reading list later). The quote I have lived by for the last few years is below:

Mr Wooden is an inspiration,  I've taken so much from his books over the last 5 years and I personally would say that every coach (and teacher for that matter) should be given his books to read before they undertake any coaching / teaching course.

I listen to a number of podcasts, one is the talent equation which is excellent, the other is the rugby coaches corner and more recently the way of champions. They have all informed my practice and not so long ago the creator of the talent equation shared an article,  he wrote that giving up drills was very difficult for coaches. 

This is so true and I have first hand experience of this.

So back to pre season, we haven't touched a drill for months, just games, adapted games, chaos and Head bands! Even when we did come close to a catching drill - the players managed to make it into a high intensity game. 

We had three pre season games each set with differing levels of challenge. Each game we set an attacking target and a defensive target. Each target challenged the players as a team and during the games we set specific targets for certain players.

So the last game attacking target was: Score three tries from cross-field kicks, challenging to say the least. It got even more challenging when we lost our ten to a pot hole! Now at this point we could of scrapped the target. But inline with our CARDS we stuck at it. Now what I have learned recently, using the constraints based coaching model, a time limit always mixes things up! So we kept at and after 5 attempts (including a cross-field from a prop) we got it! Success!

As a coach do you challenge yourself? are you using cards - TGFU has been an approach that I have been using for a number of years, but I've always felt it had something missing and executed poorly it can be ineffective.

Four seasons ago I undertook coaching under 16s, I wanted to attempt to develop a programme for developing players and not results. This was met with some resistance. 

So here are my top tips for undertaking a programme of constraints coaching:

1, Be transparent - parents, other coaches, club officials and players - sit them all down, present what you are intending on doing and show them the why and the how. Make sure they are clear that what you are doing is developing players and the points will look after themselves. 

2, When facing resistance ask this question: "What can I do to help you buy into this?" - What can I do to show you what the purpose is?" You are going to face resistance - even if you sit down with all the parties involved. Unfortunately no one likes change and I have even experienced under 16s players asking why we are not doing drills. But do not give up - when I tried to implement it a few years ago even though I explained to all what was happening I still had one parent that was very destructive. As far as he was concerned the boys should have been hitting lots of pads and standing in a line waiting on a Sunday morning.

3, Set your season outcomes! What do you want the players to achieve at the end of the season and do not be tempted to write win all games or win all cups. Player development is not judged on the trophy cabinet. Its judged on smiles and a learning environment. Now lets be clear I am not stating that competition is no good and it should all be taken away, I'm just saying that when the players are 25 no one will care if they won the under 16s cup and that little bit of plastic really does not mean that much when it comes to player development. 

4, Coach to the Principles of Play and maintain the core values! Our game is unique, it can be life changing in so many ways. Coach the principles of play which are:

Contest Pressure
Go forward

Use these and get the players to really understand what they mean.

Additionally refer to CARDS when working on your sessions - How are you enabling creativity during this game?

So there you go - they are my top tips.

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