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How To Coach Natural Flair – But Still Keep Your Structure


I’ve recently attended the High Performance Coaching Seminar for 2008 in Sydney, Australia where the elite coaches from the ARL & NRL (Rugby League) were introduced to the latest cutting edge training techniques, presented by some of the leading authorites in Sports Performance.

I thought I’d share some of what I picked up from this two day seminar….

Many of the top rugby teams in Australia and the UK all have similar systems in place on coaching a rugby team.

They all have a head coach, an assisstant coach, a strength & conditioning coach, a qualified Physio and doctor, massage therapist etc. Their training programs will be very similar and most teams will have athletes who can bench the same, squat the same, hit the same times over 40m and 100m sprint etc. Basically there are systems in place that seem to work and the clubs follow them.

Now systems provide many things but mainly they provide CONSISTENCY. They provide a structured standardised environment for people to follow.

So why do clubs and coaches rely on systems?

They rely on Systems because they provide Consistency…Consistency develops Culture and Culture develops Sustainability…..But ‘SYSTEMS DO NOT CREATE GENIUS’.

Think of the best elite athletes in any sport. We call them great because they are different!

They can see, do and create things that are unique and can take the game to new levels. They take risks, defy convention and break rules…..

“So How Do We Coach Them?”

Anson Dorrance the great USA Soccer Coach once said,

“We are poor at recognising genius. Some kid comes along who has had limited training but has a natural ability to score goals, beat opponents and see the game differently. They are potentially the next Maradona, Beckham or Ronaldo and what do we do? We immediately put limits on them and teach them to pass. We teach them to defend and conform to our own philosophies about the game. We kill off their genius by putting barriers on them. Instead, we should be learning from them – Great players take the game to a new level and we should not restrain their genius by imposing our own limited views of what the game should be.”

As coaches in this new and exciting era, we should recognise genius and not limit them, understanding that success is a moving target and one of the biggest lessons I learned from this seminar is that you have to look into who your players are as people.

Learn to understand The Total Player Profile (TPP) as Wayne Goldsmith (Elite Performance Consultant for the Olympic and Professional Sport) pointed out. Wayne also said,

“Our role as a coach is to ensure each individual achieves optimal physical, mental, technical, tactical, social/cultural (PMTTS) performance….then add the team stuff.”

Throught the seminar, this phrase kept croping up, ‘Whole Player Development’. For example, 50% of all junior development is spent on NON PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES and the total player profile (TTP) is what the new generation of coaches are focusing on.

So the big coaching question I have for you is,

“Will You Lead or Follow?

Neil Harmon

Categories : General



What about the Up an at Um! defence?


Up an at um then!

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