Coaches a Mini rugby team in Ely, Cambridgeshire.
I used the CD to help with
preparation of the Ely Under 9s for a couple
of Mini Rugby festivals that we attended in April
and we played outstandingly - only narrowly losing
to a much larger squad after playing 6 matches.
As the matches were towards the end of the
season I asked each player to come to the festival
with a piece of paper on which they had noted
3 key points which would help us beat the opposition
- the idea was to get them to focus on positives
going into the tournament. The teams we
played against are the strongest in the nearest
counties and our players can sometimes
be a bit intimated by the club names before they
set foot on the pitch so I wanted them to have
a positive focus. They
came up with a mixture of ideas which we agreed
( in our warm up) could be distilled to
three areas - Tackle hard , Pass before being
tackled ( keep the ball alive) and finally encourage
each other on the pitch ( no matter what the situation
- bear in mind we have a very wide range
of abilities !). The consequence was a real
bonding of the players - at least for the day.
These CDs have been really
useful because previously we would work to engender
a positive team spirit and supporting each other
and we hadn’t done much more because the
coaching comes from our history of playing, and
I don’t recall any emphasis on mental approach
when I played up to Minor County level.
Tradionally the break down
of our training sessions has been
5% fitness (warm up, cool down)
Virtually nothing specifically
aimed at mental approach.
We are just starting out
with goal setting with the youngsters, the response
has been very positive so far and the CDs have
been really helpful in getting this right and
helping us focus on the right things.
The CDs have really helped
us in focusing the players and concentrating on
what we will do well. Our major success is the
strength of each individual's commitment to
the team ( mentioned by other coaches and parents).
Although our squad is only 13 boys -we have to
put out a team of 9 each week - we compete
with other clubs who have larger squads
of up to 50 at this age group. Last season
we won or drew 75 % of our 34 competitive
matches - 90% of those we lost were within 1
score. I think the mental prep we put in
creates the team ethos which is greater than the
sum of the individuals. At age 9 it is quite
difficult to get them to think collectively and
not for their own individual glory. Hence
the emphasis on pass before you get tackled, rather
than go for the score yourself. I wouldn't
say we have more than 3 above average players
at this age group.
The Ideas contained on the
CDs provide an extra dimension to our coaching,
we are in the early stages with it currently,
but I have no doubt about how effective it will
be in the long run.