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So, if we expect players to find their own solutions to match scenario, ‘think for themselves’ etc, then we should expect the same of coaches.

Too often a coach will choose the easy way out and with little consideration take activities and drills from a book or manual without considering the context.

Coaches need to think deeper than just wanting the latest, newest ‘drills’, but develop their own framwork for designing challenging and engaging activities for their teams.

Rant over…

By Stuart Lierich

I understand you know that rugby is a dynamic sport. In fact, it seems to be such a ‘buzz line’ in coaching circles these days.

Sure, I’m glad more coaches are appreciating the ‘whole of environment’ when it comes to coaching. But, not nearly enough coaches in my view.

For many, unfortunately, it’s a throw away line.

Take improving or remedying player skill errors as an example.

By no means an easy (or linear!) task, but for many coaches they are simply barking up the wrong tree when it comes to the path they take to ‘fix’.

How many coaches do you know that make their own judgment or assessment of a poorly executed skill without considering all of the factors that may have contributed?

To begin to improve any skill deficiency for a player we need to go “Sherlock Holmes” and gather the facts before we “Theorize” any conclusions.

Oh, I know the more experienced we get, the sharper our observational powers are.

That’s bullshit.

Please don’t fall into the common trap of labelling a poor pass, tackle or kick based on the physical aspects alone. What a coach sees is only but a part of the story.

The best coaches empower any player needing help by considering their perspective when ‘things go wrong’.

[Watch the Video] below to learn the 3 questions I ask players to determine whether we have an issue with decision making (game awareness) or physically performing the skill.

By Stuart Lierich

Ok coach, ponder this:

How do the really good teams you coach against achieve a competitive advantage over you?

The other coaches are of a similar level, and have access to the same CPD that you do.

So what makes them so good then?

I’ll give you a tip. Well, actually I will tell you that from my personal experience it took me some time to discover this.

“We’ve got to get the information across to players so that it sticks. After all, coaching a team is about transferring what you are teaching into improved performances in matches”.

In my early coaching career I was so keen to be the fountain of knowledge passing on my gold to players. I looked up the best ‘drills’, created amny of my own & spent so much time planning the exact timing of my session blocks.

Oh, how glad I am to be at this stage of my career, having been through enough experiences to now know the answer to the question above. I had been missing the point for so long.

A word of warning. This isn’t an easy mindshift and most coaches won’t make the effort.

AND, it will take work to maintain it as part of your coaching philosophy.

I will say however, that for me it has been the most important ingredient in helping me become a more effective coach for the players and teams I am involved with.

Watch the video below:

By Stuart Lierich

 

Dear Rugby,

You need to stop coaching the way your dad did when it comes to kicking.

If you were a kicker of sorts, I’m sure you’ll remember (as I do!), how much time went into (over)explaining how you should hold or grip a ball before kicking.

Well, I do love my dad, but geez. And we as players didn’t know any better. We just thought we were learning. lol.

Here’s the thing. Even with so much information around these days, coaches still seem, generally speaking, keen to over coach the grip.

“What about all the different kick types?”, I hear you exclaim.

Let’s not miss the point. Although I acknowledge there are numerous kick variations available, I’ll raise you one, in fact.

Every player finds their own (unique) solution to every kick, and the best players are able to adapt to the dynamic nature of a game of rugby.

Watch the video below as I explain why “holding the ball is less important than the eventual quality of contact” when kicking:

By Stuart Lierich

 

One of my coaching aims this year has been to produce and share more content with players and coaches working at all levels of the rugby community.

So, a little update for you is that I am currently working on producing a Rugby Goal Kicking Course, that will provide you a solid coaching framework to *Assess, *Practice, *Review and *Improve…..

Get Access To The FREE Goal Kicking ‘Pro Tip Video Series’:

As a gesture of goodwill, I wanted to share with you this video chapter (3mins), that will be the summary of my professional PlaceKicking Template.

Obviously the ‘meat’ of the process would come before any summary, yet I know this video will still provide you value in setting a course for your further development:

Click Below To View:

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ACCESS THE FULL COURSE HERE:

By Stuart Lierich

It’s amazing the value players and coaches can gleen from simple grid activities in practice.

The short clip below is a passing activity from a rugby league pre season session a few months back, looking at playing flat and fast (as the game may dictate).

The focus for the activity is for the first receiver to get into a position where he commits both ‘A’ & ‘B’ defenders in the line to make a decision.

Sometimes referred to as “arse away” we are looking for a ball player in this situation that will:

  • Start on ‘A’ defender, and with timing skip out between ‘A’ & ‘B’ when receiving the pass off the carpet from dummy half
  • Run straight, play square and play late with the intention of holding up A & B thus isolating the next defender out
  • Create passing options including:
  • back inside to support player pushing up on ball
  • pass short into gap between B & C (if it exists) to a teammate running a hard ‘unders’ line (ideally a second rower)
  • long pass to attacker outside last defender (if space exists)

Watch 4v3 Clip Here (20seconds):

Sidenote: Whilst on the surface this appears a passive passing drill, it is important to have an intended focus or coaching theme. This activity is about the first receiver (attackers – flat/fast), yet we always find many other coachable moments for defending players too. With practice I encourage you to manipulate various aspects of activities such as this to replicate intensity and challenge decision making…..more often than not we would turn this into a game allowing for continuity of play, re alignment and fatigued decision making…

By Stuart Lierich

On some level, most coaches and players would know and believe this to be the case.

For me, as a professional skills & kicking coach, it’s still common for me to watch players that have a kicking action dominated by their leg swing.

Kicking (distance, accuracy and control) well is about smoothness and control, not raw swinging power.

To kick effectively, from the tee or general play, requires a framework to achieve this.

Think about your favourite half backs, first fives and fullbacks. What about those players stands out to you?

I bet you’re thinking that good kickers are smooth, fluent and their skill appears somewhat effortless. Along those lines, right?

Even though they would all appear to kick with a different ‘style’, it is below the outer layer that a common thread exists.

These are the players that use all of their body to achieve good outcomes (for all kick types). Yes, the leg swing is important, but only one of many ingredients.

But how do they achieve this?

Whole of Body Movement is like imagining that there are several body parts that need to move and rotate when we kick. The more skilled a kicker, the better they’re able to have those body parts move in the most efficient sequence.

In future articles I will investigate and discuss the key ingredients in more detail, but for today let me explain why your players will kick better if you (coach) work on and understand better this “whole of body movement” concept for now: (video below)