A book review of Ulitmate Crush: Waseda University Rugby, Leadership and Building the Strongest Winning Team in Japan Katsuyuki Kiyomiya translated by Ian Ruxton. The Japanese love slogans. Ultimate Crush, which was coined for the Waseda University rugby team, translates differently according to the dialect used*, but the core meaning of “overwhelming victory” is clear. MORE
Rugby coaching tips to create successful teamwork
Key rugby coaching tips to maximise team culture
- A team’s culture is the “way the team does things round here.” In other words, how the players act and react to different circumstances.
- Most rugby coaches want a “team culture” which is based on supporting each other and working towards a common goal.
- Where the culture is positive, reverses in fortunes, such as injury or poor decisions by referees, can be dealt with effectively and quickly.
- A negative team culture will lead to poor performance, since there will be disagreements in key areas, for example selection or tactics.
- An individual’s culture is based on their upbringing and personal “protocols”. They will then either work with the team if their set of protocols matches, or there will be clashes. It will take a long time to change the culture of an individual.
New Zealand example
In New Zealand we have very a strong culture of the indigenous players. Their way of thinking challenges us to think differently about our rugby coaching routines.
In our rugby coaching academy we have a range of players: Maori, English, Scottish, American. Every one of these boys learns differently and a coach has to be in touch with their way of learning to help develop and change their ways.
Maori culture and the implications for rugby coaches everywhere
- The culture of the Maori people is based on Tikanga.
- They are the customs and traditions handed down over a very long time, before English was known.
- In Maori rugby camps the culture is expressed through singing, prayers and the development of our Hakas, the traditional dance. It is a code of conduct which, if taken away, means the loss of our “wairua” or spirit which distinguishes us from other people.
Key rugby coaching tip
Don’t try to remove the cultural individuality of a player because you lose a core element of their desire to play.
Create the right rugby team environment
It is all too easy to ignore the personal needs of the players in an attempt to get your rugby team onto the pitch with all the moves and tactics necessary to win. But an unhappy team member can spoil all the positives created elsewhere.
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