EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

The first Law of leadership

After I read 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell and mentioned this to one of our writers, Nick Bishop, he said that seemed a large number of Laws to remember. And they are irrefutable as well. That’s quite a high standard.

I am not going to list out all 21, but I was struck by one in particular, the Law of Connection. Leaders get people to follow them. You are a leader, albeit of a group of players and co-coaches. You want this group to follow you. The Law of Connection says that you have to touch a heart before you ask for a hand.

When I ask my son to help collect the cones at the end of training, he looks at me with a pained expression. It’s as though I have invited him to put pins in his eyes. At that moment I feel like kicking him up the backside with my size 11 boot more than touching his heart.

Even Jesus said it was tough to be a preacher in your own land (John 4:44). But, it is a different story when I ask parents to help set out the corner flags or get the protectors for the posts. Because we have worked hard to communicate with parents over the season, praised their children and offered support, they are very willing to lend a hand.

You need to build up a bank of goodwill. There is an emotional connection because of the uplifting experience of seeing their sons improve and enjoy their sport. Of course, my son does not see this. But the parents will. You can do this with the players too. Don’t talk about “winning cups”, but what it felt like when they reach small milestones, the rewards for their efforts.

I see it most when we have our end of season get together. Everyone gets the same attention, no one wins any “best” player prizes. The emotional experience is shared, not divided.

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