RCW’s Haunted House: Episode 2

Welcome to the Rugby Coach Weekly…Haunted House, featuring:

Richard Cheetham, Senior Fellow in Sports Coaching at the University of Winchester, was awarded the MBE in recognition for his work in Community Education and Sport, working with the RFU as well as many other top sports governing bodies

Rachel Taylor, first female Welsh Rugby Union regional academy coach, a former international with 67 caps as well as captaining the side, coaching the Barbarians team plus head coach of Colwyn Bay RFC mens team,

Russell Bolton, a level 3 coach, course RFU course director, coached in Italy, and now the rugby professional Magdalen College, Oxford

These three unsuspecting coaches were invited to enter the Haunted House. I led each one into a room where they faced a terrifying rugby scenario. Each one was challenged to find a coaching solution. On the spot, no preparation and no get out clauses. Sink or swim.

The other two coaches listened on, and at the end of the solution offered alternative views. We then commented on those solutions, before we went off to the next room.

Here are the scenarios:

Captain’s request

You are coaching a men’s team in strong league. It’s mid-season, and you’ve lost a few games. The boys look tired and in truth they have deserved to lose.

Your development team is also struggling, but the players have been working hard to build up some momentum. They are young and impressionable. You have been mentoring their coach, who looks up to you.

The captain, who is in his second season at the club, asks for Tuesday night off for all the players.

Your time is up

You’ve come into coach this men’s team. A big fanfare from everywhere, as the first woman coach for this club. You are realistic though. They haven’t had a good run for a while now.

Of course, it all changes with your hard work and efforts. And you find yourself three games away from promotion into a national league.

On Monday you get a call from a friend on the committee. He tells you that if the team is promoted they have lined in a player-coach from New Zealand to take over next season and you will be asked to step down and take the 2nds.

Coaching style challenged

Your coaching/playing philosophy is aligned to reducing “structure” within how the team plays and you are also a very player-centred coach. You are aiming for empowerment from the players to find their own way through games with good decision making.

You have worked hard to improve this which is better than they probably think it is.

But the feedback is that they crave being told what to do, not having to think and want structure. While they like touch rugby at the start of training, they only like their version. After that they much prefer to split forwards and backs.


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