Your Rugby Coaching Philosophy
Every good rugby coach has their own personal style, values and unique view on rugby coaching that make up their coaching philosophy. It is important for any coach to think about their own style and try and develop it fully into an all-round philosophy.
Here are some thoughts on why you might want to do this, and how best to go about it.
You already have a coaching philosophy – you just may not know it! Everything that informs your style of coaching forms part of your philosophy. A strongly articulated philosophy of rugby coaching will give you a strong framework within which you can develop the rest of your coaching activities, and ensure consistency of message for your players.
Being clear about where you intend to go with rugby coaching can make sure everyone is on the same page from the start and makes sure you stay true to your own goals and do not get distracted by a “victory at all costs” attitude.
It can also give you a clearer idea of where you want to go and how best to achieve your goals. The self-reflection involved in developing your philosophy can give you a good idea of your strengths and weaknesses as a coach, and where you might want to improve, or look for help from others.
When articulating your philosophy, try and think of the values you think are most important while coaching. Consider the way you normally coach, and then generalise it, to think of the principles that lie behind your rugby coaching. You can bring into this your own life experiences, coaches you respect (or indeed, people from any other walk of life who you think could be an example) and of course your personal beliefs. In other words, ask yourself the question “Why do I coach the way I do?”
For many, the easiest way to build up an idea of this philosophy is visually, using a sort of mind map, or “picture of performance”. This is an image you make out, however roughly, that shows everything that informs you as a coach – your experiences as a player or coach, your skills, your values, your principles, etc. Start from the general – e.g. “I am English” – and work your way up to the more specific – e.g. the exact kind of atmosphere you want to create with your team and your attitude to the individual as opposed to the team.
At the end of this process, you will have a huge amount of information to draw on when writing an actual coaching philosophy document.
Many successful rugby coaches have publicly stated the key points of their coaching philosophy. For example, Rod McQueen, former Wallabies coach, seeks for the highest standards of excellence, always trying to improve, while remaining positive. Brian Noble, is rugby league coach who's won everything in the English Super League looks to focus on the needs of the individual within the team, while still developing an overall team confidence.
Once you have your coaching philosophy defined and explained to your players, you should find things will start running smoother, which means you're one step closer to helping your players achieve their full potential!