Keeping Your Players Interested!
It’s a long season and if we're honest there is always a drop off in attendance at training, unless you are pushing for promotion or in a relegation battle but even then it's probably the same regular faces. So knowing that we are in a battle for players interest, what can we do in our coaching to make it unmissable?
- We know players like having FUN
- We know players like to be with their friends
- We know they dislike being shouted at and told what to do all the time
- We know they love to play
- We know that sometimes less is more (less from the coach and more player led)
So how does this affect our coaching practice? Essentially we started playing the game to have fun and this can sometimes seem to be lacking when competition is so dominant. We are not saying competition is bad, far from it, it is essential to player development but remember the balance! Learning is easier to achieve if the player is enjoying themselves.
Your friendships from rugby last a lifetime, it is what makes the sport so fantastic to be a part of. In your coaching, foster these connections and build on them, players will be glued together.
Adapting and changing your coaching style may be essential to your player's enjoyment. An empathetic style where the coach looks to get on the player’s wavelength is much easier than 20-30 players all trying to get on the coach’s wavelength. A mismatch in delivery style can lead to all sorts of issues.
The word ‘play’ sometimes has the context of a deconstructed practice where there are no constraints and limited actual coaching taking place. The use of Deliberate Play or Practice is essential to the development of understanding. We recognise the importance of technical development and motor skill competence but we also have to use these abilities at the right time. By playing games, constrained practices and scenarios we start to instil this understanding.
We need to maintain the notion that it is the player’s game – it is theirs – we as coaches are providing the environment to foster this and build on it. If we as coaches determine the way that the players actually play the game with no involvement of the players we will have a coach-led performance where they fail to think for themselves!