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Hey Coach

Hey coach – don’t forget you are doing a great job!

Being a coach is like being a teacher under constant pressure to ensure that a certain number of student get a shiny ‘A’ grade on their exams, if you don’t achieve this mark, then your job will be under threat, if you aren’t marched in short time if your primary objective isn’t met over time.

Without oversimplifying the teaching industry, with many comparisons to coaching, the heavy cloak that comes with losing, or the bounce in your step that comes with winning, is a buzz that is normally reserved for coaches only.

Losing, especially over time, is considered a death knell for senior (or paid) coaches, something a teacher doesn’t have to worry about per say (although failing students can hurt just as much), but it is more the simple element where a coaches confidence could conceivably drop lower than a teacher’s ever could, and as a consequence so could the class of student – or in rugby’s case – the team.

coach12We’ve all experienced the dark shadow that hangs over a dressing room after a loss, and other aspects that can drag down a team, if not a culture.

Continually losing, lack of fire on the training or playing field, disconnection from the back room team and players, and in higher levels – eventually plummeting revenues, deserting sponsors, and worse of all, fans that turn their backs on their team.

The pencil pushers, as some coaches might affectionately call the senior management teams, will work within business parameters if the going gets tough.

The players have only you to rely on.

But who do you, the coach, turn to when it gets tough, when at the worse, your job is under threat, or even more horribly, you feel no passion or maybe even feel like being a coach is a waste of time.


This is why you are the coach, not just because you’ve jot a certain skillset, an eye for rugby, a penchant for effective training or are an expert at a key aspect such as forward or backline play.

Sure, this helps, but NO, it is because you have an ability that not all have.

You are the coach, but you are the player’s Father and Mother, their boss, their mentor, their friend, the person with all the answers, and if you lose faith in yourself, you won’t be able to provide these aspects as effectively as you may like.

You are doing a great job, and you must believe it, for if you don’t, no-one else will.

Your selections will be questioned by the infamous armchair critics, whether they be media or parents murmuring on the sideline.  

Back yourself and make the decisions that you think will best benefit your players and team, but more importantly, when your decisions don’t seem to bear much fruit, don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and rethink how you approach your craft.

Sir Graham Henry’s greatest act as All Blacks coach, some consider, was not the winning of the Rugby World Cup or the assembly of one of the most outstanding Test match records of all time – but that he was prepared to admit where he went wrong, and make it right, for the good of the team – and we know what the end result of this was.

James Mortimer