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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
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.