Joe Schmidt

The Rugby Empowerer

Train to Win (T2W)

The Rugby Empowerer deals with players that are adults and representative players. Goal is develop a winning combination.

The principles of adult learning together with the characteristics of champion athletes imply that coaches must release rather than restrict the potential of the players and other coaching staff, otherwise the potential for creativity and responsibility will be stifled.
With player accountability comes player responsibility and relevant player control. For this to occur the coach must create an environment where trust and respect between all squad
members is established while still maintaining ultimate responsibility for team performance and results.

This is all about The Process, how to organise the team, the attacking systems and defensive patterns.

The Process

We can use that LTPD definition as a sort of check list to see what we need to organise.

  1. … must release rather than restrict the potential of the players: this makes sense, soo much needs to be detailed and organised and most of all including the players themselves this is not possible. Activities are: strategy sessions, goals setting and 180 reviews. When I organised this as National Under 18 Coach We discussed key performance tasks per position and then asked the players to score themselves. When the backrow scored themselves “Red = Need Work” I was in for a challenge! I brought some of the best back row players in our country to work separately with them to “put the dots on the i”;
  2. …and other coaching staff: without delegation to a bigger staff this is unmanageable. First thought is the Video Coach: rather than just chunking out standard stat, his involvement in the process will result in targeted feedback.
  3. … create an environment where trust and respect between all squad members is established: think about his: when a player brings his concerns forward, does he risk being dropped by the coach? When I brought in a specialist coach for Line-Out work I told the players: “I am so-so with Line-Out work, that is why I asked Job to come and help us.” It was a very powerful message to the team. A great example is the “Legacy” approach of New Zealand rugby, you have to strive to be a better player than the one on that position before you.

The Process also implies a closed feedback loop: we set our goals together, translate this in a program, work as a team to develop accordingly, assess our programs, weed out the mistakes.

Rugby coach as Servant Leader

We have this Servant Leader stuff in business management, I think it boils down to allowing the team to make its own mistakes. This is definitely part of The Process.

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