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The Coach
Nigel Cook, Rugby Coach

Nigel 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

75% technical
20% tactical
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.

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