Being a rugby coach in the Netherlands is not easy. With only 10.000 people playing the game, not many coaches are around. Little is available for coaches like clinics and courses. This results in a small but totally committed group of (amateur) coaches.
After finishing my A and B level courses I started in Dutch Premier League as a 31 year old I needed all the support of other coaches. How did I set this up? Here are some tips:
- Try to read as much on the game as possible.
- Talk to as many other coaches as possible.
- Buy videos to get info easy and quickly.
- Share your ideas with others, you will get a return.
- Develop a plan for your team development, this means you have something to discuss with others.
- Find somebody who can be your ‘career consultant’, somebody who you can discuss on how your are approaching coaching itself. Ideally this would be somebody that knows the club and its members is not to much involved.
- Don't be shy, talk to coaches who seem outside your reach. I have made friends in France, England, Scotland and New Zealand.
- Look for other sports for ideas, rugby is 50 years behind compared for example with athletics.
Set up a program
I am doing the IRB Level 4 now. But I am still building my network. I was great to involve Jean Bidal in the program I have set up for the National Under 18 team of the Netherlands. Not as a trainer running sessions with the team, but as an advisor helping me improve the program. Same goes for Paul Metz who did put me on the hot seat several times, challenging my plans and the execution. I think more than 8 coaches contributed to the National Under 18 team's success in the FIRA-AER European Championships of 2013.
- Paul Davey helped me to develop the defensive line-out.
- Alex Chang changed the players thinking from "kicking the ball away" to having an "exit strategy".
- Mats Marcker was crucial in developing the mentality of the backs and made them play in the defense, rather than in front. Mats his unbelievable (blind?) ambition raised the bar in everything we did.
- Lammert Ruiter put the last details in the positional play of the back row.
- Job Volker did great work with the Scrum and Line-out.
- Erik Hengeveld kept the overall view and helped me stay on course. Our work with the players of the field was invaluable.
- Louis Schlee did the S+C work.
- Loek Herremans evaluated my work with the team in the teamroom.
- did I forget anyone?
Scary? No, I think if you ask any rugbycoach for help you will get some advise. Just remember you are the one who is overall responsible!
On the market place on this website you can meet those companies or find the books that have provided me with lots of good information and ideas in the past. On the links page you have some interesting website to research.