Breaking down coaching barriers

There are many reasons why people turn to the role of coaching.

Some love the sport and want to stay involved once they hang the boots up. Others want to see their own children progress through the game, being by their side every step of the way. Then there are the those who want to give back to the game they love, and others that look to coaching as an avenue for personal and professional development.

Whatever your reason, coaching a team is one of the most challenging and fulfilling roles you will ever take on board and along the coaching journey, you will experience a wide range of emotions - from exasperation to exhilaration, and everything in between.

Taking your shot

Here are CMRFU we like to live by the concept of ‘no growth without courage’ which describes the importance of tackling challenges headfirst and working to improve in different aspects of life. This is particularly relevant for those who struggle with their coaching confidence.

Too often we hear of coaches who are unsure if they have the right knowledge or patience to do a good job. Coaching can be a daunting task, and the fact that you are nervous means that you take it seriously.

Rugby Development Manager, Jeremy Wara explains how to deal with internal pressure, and build your coaching confidence.

“Many of our coaches appreciate how big the job is that they are undertaking and end up putting a lot of pressure on themselves to perform.

“There are a number of techniques that can help ease doubt; and I find learning from someone with experience is a good start. If you know someone already involved, ask if you can shadow them for a while and slowly get more involved until you are immersed and loving it!

“Another way to go about it is to put your hand up and let people know that you have doubts about your ability, and I guarantee you'll find helping hands will present themselves to you at will. It's the Kiwi way.”

In their Coach Mentor Programme, Sport New Zealand list several ways coaches can maintain and bolster their confidence:

  • Know your sport; keep up to date
  • Associate with other successful coaches
  • Engage in coach development opportunities and use the most relevant information
  • Maintain a life balance. Although sport is important, so are family, other people, career, health and wellness, and rest and recreation
  • See opportunities in every challenge and setback
  • Expect success

Here at the Union we also have a team of Rugby Development staff who are dedicated to helping you along your coaching journey, connecting you to useful programs and resources which will help make your job easier, more impactful and fulfilling. 

Rugby Toolbox – This is the one stop shop where you can find all the tools and resources you need for rugby, on and off the field. It's free and is a vital tool to have in your kit.

Small Blacks - Another great resource for junior coaches, parents, and players – coming with some awesome tools to help with your coaching and some cool stuff for the kids and parents to get involved with as well.

Light touch, massive influence

As life progresses, things get busier, and our spare time becomes more and more valuable, it becomes key that extra-curricular activities are flexible and able to fit in with the other parts of our lives.

Many coaches are interested in starting off with a part-time coaching pathway, which is a great way to get your foot in the door.

In being a part time coach, you can still play an influential role in the development of your players, both athletically and in their “off the field” lives as well. While you may only see your players for a few hours a week, the attitudes, and values they develop towards themselves and others will stay with them forever.

Along with a part time involvement, we also encourage coaches to work out a training schedule that works for everyone in the team, including the parents. Busy lives call for simple but useful solutions, and there are many innovative training patterns that you may want to consider.

  • Train one night/afternoon per week
  • Train prior to the game (most applicable to new entrant grades)
  • Train no longer than 45 minutes for ages 10 & below
  • Train at a central location for the majority (where the club may be at a distance)
  • Keep learning outcomes limited to 2 key objectives for the session while maintaining a strong focus on fun

It’s never too early to coach

In becoming a coach, players can strengthen their understanding of the on-field game, seeing the game from a different perspective than the one they get on the pitch. As a player who has been there, done that they can use their understanding of the sport, the club, and the fans to elevate their team’s performance.

When we looked at why Premier Players make Great Future Coaches, we found that with years of experience under their names, they are well equipped to go on and become leaders, teachers, and advocates of our game.

Having put in the hard yards out on the paddock over the years, our premier players have credibility and influence in what they say, and when a premier player takes up the role of coach, they are one step ahead of those who have only ever participated from a side-line capacity.

Debunking gender stereotypes

We have many fathers who coach their daughters and mothers who coach their sons. This type of set up is seen frequently at the junior level, and we also see it at the highest levels (think our own Chad Shepherd who coached our Counties Power Heat team, and the Black Ferns who are coached by Glen Moore).

Coaching is universal, and with a bit of knowledge around coaching, you will be able to coach any player in your care.

Where to from here?

Getting into the game in a coaching capacity is easy! Simply follow these steps:

  • Contact a club or one of our Rugby Development staff directly
  • Register as a coach with a club
  • Attend a coaching course applicable to the grade you coach
  • Start smashing your personal and coaching goals

With our Coaching Courses held throughout the year you will be able to work alongside likeminded people to expand your knowledge, expertise, and ability – staying current with changing times and building up your coaching toolbox.

For those looking to sign up in a part time capacity, simply notify the club or team you wish to be involved with and highlight your availability. Strike up a working relationship and identify the areas you can assist with.

Depending on which grade you are keen to be involved with, there are coaching courses and handy resources which can get you up to scratch with best practice.