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New landscape

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Coaching may be defined in many ways. However, many people have a view of what coaching is based on their observation  of the behaviour of coaches. This is often what they see on television or on a Saturday afternoon at the local club. The matches on the television represent a very small element of the game - the elite end of the game. Few players and even fewer coaches (about 1 in a hundred) actually work in this part of the game and it may be characterised by an emphasis on the result. The matches seen at a local club on a Saturday afternoon are usually between senior club sides - an adult male side. These sides also attach a great deal of importance to the result. However, only about 1 in 5 coaches work in this part of the game.

So where do the majority of coaches actually work?

Two thirds of rugby union coaches in Wales work with young players - those players who are under 16. Here the emphasis should be on the development of the player, not on the result of the match. To be clear, we are not saying that winning is not important. Rather, striving to win is important, but development of players is more so.

So what should this mean to coaches who work in this part of the game?

In essence, the players you have developed are more important than any win: loss ratio. Bear in mind that most of your players will not make the elite end of the game. For these players, their life-long involvement in a game they love is the result of their experience at a young age. As a coach to young players, can you point to senior players who have a love for the game as a result of their experience of your coaching? On the other hand, the satisfaction of playing even the tiniest part in the development of an international is reward in itself.

So, what is coaching?

It depends on the people you coach. If you are one of the vast majority of coaches who coaches youngsters, remember that your role is to develop those players not your own ego.

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