EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Why common sense is your worst enemy

Don’t leave key decisions on your day-to-day coaching to chance. If you think you will be able to use common sense when something happens, you could be fooling yourself.

Though we live in an age of health and safety checks at every stage, there are still areas which we think we can deal with when the moment arises. However, when the pressure is on, we might stop thinking straight when in fact, we need clear, decisive action to avoid further problems.

At most matches, your club or the host club has facilities to deal with injuries.

On training nights, it might be different because it might just be your team on the field.

Check what you would do if a player gets injured.

  • With children, where are the parents? With more senior players, who’s the first point of contact?
  • Who will look after the team if you are detained?
  • How will the ambulance access the pitch?

There are two main types of equipment failure: the training lights don’t work and someone forgets to bring the balls.

  • Do you have spare keys, balls, access to others with balls?
  • Do you have a backup training idea if the lights won’t switch on?

Having snapped my own Achilles tendon a day before a day-long tournament, I know that it took some phoning around to cover the day.

  • Who will cover you if you are delayed or caught up in work?
  • Are they suitably qualified?
  • How do you communicate training is cancelled at short notice?

With children, when the players turn up for training, you think you know who is there and who is not. At the end of training, who leaves with who? You might say it is the parents’ responsibility to check this, but how would you feel if a player became lost.

I know a number of coaches who have left players behind accidentally and have been mortified for weeks afterwards. How about nominating a parent for each session to check everyone has their lift back. You will be busy enough with clearing up, so let somebody else deal with it.

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