Kurt Cobain, the lead singer of rock band Nirvana, played hard and died young. He said: “If practice makes perfect and nobody’s perfect, why practise?” MORE
Last week, I saw some high-level research into success for undergraduates from college. Go to lectures and you will pass your exams. This is hardly a surprise. Or is it?
Plenty of students don’t go to lectures anymore. I don’t mean sleep in a couple of times or skip the Friday afternoon for a session in the union bar. Now, they can watch a lecture online in the comfort of their student accommodation, able to pause it at any stage to jot down a note they’ve missed.
It would hardly seem worth going to the university at all if that’s the way to pass. You could still have the nights out and other student adventures, and perhaps pop into a couple of online tutorials along the way.
Well, this research suggests it’s better to be there, actually hearing, seeing and breathing in the lecture, live. That human connection seems to create a stronger learning outcome.
I was interested how this might impact on my coaching and therefore those who I coach. My sense is this. We must be experiencing learning in a place where we have to perform. Exams are still sat in a large hall with others around us. As I write this, I’m sitting in the Swansea central library, and there’s buzz of coughs, splutters and all manner of other noises that could cause you to lose your concentration.
The lecture also requires an intense level of concentration. If you wander off, you will miss some vital section of the lecture. Watch it back online, and it’s too easily to find yourself reaching for your phone.
Let’s put that now into a rugby context. How many times do we stop our training to reflect and feedback with the players? In a match, it would be five minutes at half time. Yet, we can find ourselves reducing the intensity to constantly correct (or praise) the players.
Therefore, the closer we can make the sessions to a match the better. That should mean long periods of play where there are only brief stoppages to reflect times when there are the equivalent of set pieces. How long does that stop the game? Let’s say 30 seconds. In that time, what should the players be doing? Well, whatever helps them be more successful in the next phase of training.
There’s a good phrase being used at the moment called “Beat the game”, which I’ve picked up from the likes of Russell Earnshaw working with England U18s. Call it to your players in these brief moments. They must think what to do better and then employ it to try to win.
That’s more intense, it’s more like the game. Players who train at the same pace and mental effort as a game will succeed. Just like the undergraduates who turn up for lectures. (Son, please read this!).
Like other disciplines, rugby has a jargon of its own. Unless the meanings are explained they can be meaning-less. That's why I've explained them in plain, simple English and with large, clear illustrations in my manual Rugby Tactics Made Simple. But not only that, you'll learn how to coach the tactics with my tips. If you’re new to coaching or prefer a more simple style this is a great, straightforward introduction to rugby tactics. "It highlights the key fundamentals of all aspects of play & gives coaches a good understanding of terminology and techniques at the highest level" - Richard Whiffin, assistant coach at London Irish MORE
Anxious about coaching rugby to children? Maybe you're already coaching, but sometimes struggling to get your points across at training? Perhaps you sometimes simply run out of preparation time? Possibly you're feeling your sessions are getting dull? Do you want a few new skills to boost your player's skills now? Or to help your players develop the techniques for seasons ahead? Maybe even the core skills for their whole rugby playing career? Here's the answer... MORE
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