7 coaching risks worth taking

Sometimes you have to be bold when coaching. Take a risk that can change something for the better. Nothing ventured, nothing gained – so try these ideas for size.

 Skills, drills, tips and advice for rugby coaches Issue number: 1001 1st of June, 2017 7 coaching risks worth taking Hi {sForename}, Standing up in front of an audience isn't everyone's idea of fun. Yet, we still do it, week-in, week-out with our teams. Hopefully, your team listens to you most of the time. But they will stop listening if you begin to lose their trust - if your ideas aren't working or they feel you're not making sense. This tends to make us risk averse. We take the safer options because more outlandish ideas can reduce our authority if they don't work out. Inside this newsletter: 7 coaching risks worth taking What are The Seven Deadly Sins Of Rugby Coaching? "Jump steps" for balance Get age-appropriate coaching guides Quote: Sir Ian McGeechan, former British and Lions coach Boost your coaching with my rugby coaching manuals One famous risk sticks in my mind. You might remember Italy's coach, Nick Mallet, playing his flanker Mauro Bergamasco as a scrum half in a Six Nations match against England. Faced with a half-back injury crisis, Mallet felt his talented back rower could fill the gap. Unfortunately, it was a disaster, though you might wonder if another player would have been worse. But, that's with the benefit of hindsight, you have to take those risks to find out whether they will work or not and to learn more. More about yourself and more about your team. Management guru, Tom Peters says: "Test fast, fail fast, adjust fast." Anyone who's in the start-up business world will tell you that a lot of the best work on "sprints". They do just what Peters suggests. They take risks. Not foolish bets, but calculated risks, which are adjusted, honed and reviewed. What risks are you willing to take in training? I've made seven suggestions below to make you think again. Also in today's newsletter, get your players to try this "Jump steps" for balance. Yours in rugby, Dan Cottrell's signature Dan Cottrell, Head Coach, Rugby Coach Weekly What are The Seven Deadly Sins of Rugby Coaching? As much as it is important to take risks with your team it's also important to know you are taking the right risks! Over my coaching career I have found that there are seven coaching traps or "sins" that I think we all fall into at one time or another. Knowing these traps and how to avoid them helps you to develop a framework in which you can experiment without damage to your coaching or your team! This month you can get my guide, The Seven Deadly Sins of Rugby Coaching, FREE when you trial or subscribe to Rugby Coach Weekly. Rugby Coach Weekly gives you proven drills and plays every week as well as personalised advice from my AskDan! service. And you can now subscribe from as little as £34* Subscribe now *£34 is the price for a 3 month subscription to Rugby Coach Weekly. 6 and 12 month subscriptions are also available. 7 coaching risks worth taking

1. Let someone else take a coaching session

Don’t employ a guest coach – use one of the players. Step back and let them run part of the session. Obviously, be there to check for health and safety issues. Give the player a week’s notice. You can watch how the other players react and give some responsibility for learning to the team.

2. Play without your best player

Give your best player a week off. The team will know in advance he is not there so will adapt and cope. This will help them deal for when he is injured. It is also good for the player concerned because it helps him understand there are situations when he might not be picked later in his career. But you need to be very clear why you are doing it. The player concerned will be rested and fired up next week, I can guarantee.

3. Cancel training for a week

In a long season, a week off from training can be quite refreshing. Tell the players in advance so they can plan to do other things instead. Use it as a reason that they should be at all the other sessions. It needs to be planned into the structure of the season, so not before a particularly vital game.

4. Save time and put your tactics on your website

Your players read the website. They check for timings and selection. Why not put down your tactics as well, so they understand what they are doing and why? This should save time in training. The opposition teams might well read the website too. That’s fine, because you are going to have a couple of plans to work to. For instance, you are going to run more than one type of lineout in their 22. You don’t have to say who is going to run where or who specifically the ball is going to.

5. Don’t say anything at half time – just let them drink

At half time, let the players take on some water, rest and then split into forwards and backs. They can discuss what they want to do. Then bring them into the huddle and ask the captain to say a few words. If you have briefed the players well enough before the game, they will simply be repeating your messages anyway.

6. Start training with a full-on game

Do a good, physical warm up and then play a proper game of rugby. Modify the set pieces based on the numbers. You can then highlight and feedback on the hoof. Finish training with some work-ons from that game.

7. Don’t work on fitness

Leave fitness to the players outside of your training sessions. Train them hard when you are with them. Players who are really struggling in the sessions need to be told they must work on their fitness. Other players will do so naturally. Don’t waste valuable coaching time on running and press-ups.

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