Glendale Coaches Corner

Glendale Merlins Rugby

Glendale Rugby – Uniting Coaches with One Common Approach

by | Mar 23, 2018 | Coaches Corner

As told by Director of Amateur Rugby Luke Gross

Coaches Blog, Glendale Rugby Date, 3.6.18, the location – Glendale’s Turf Field

On any given day on the Glendale Turf Field, there are a handful of the area’s most experienced and respected coaches out on the pitch, directing and observing dozens of the area’s finest rugby players. As the Director of Amateur Rugby at Glendale, as well as one of those coaches, myself, I spend a lot of time trying to determine what makes a great coach and what personalities can really bring out the best in our players.

Uniting Coaches

Photo by Justin Purdy

When it comes to coaching philosophy, coaches have a wide range of beliefs and styles on what they want to teach their players. Those styles also vary when it comes to their beliefs on how they want to teach their players. The styles not only vary from sport to sport, whether you are coaching males or females, but also from country to country. Here at Glendale, we have coaches from South Africa, Australia, England, and the U.S. Some were raised playing rugby, some, like me, picked it up in college and had actually more previous experience playing another sport. Some have played pro, some played just recreationally and there’s others who played very little, but were called into the administration and coaching side early on.

Although it may seem like an enormous undertaking to get all of these coaches and players from such varying backgrounds to fall in line with our system, it really just comes down to one thing. Our Director of Rugby, Mark Bullock, put it best when he said, “You are always going to deal with different personalities, but as long as we find player-centered coaches, that’s the most important thing. Coaches may have different ways of doing things, but as long as they are player or athlete-centered, and good stewards of the game, our players, and, in turn, our teams continue to develop the way we want.”

In case you are new to this concept – A player-centered approach to coaching usually focuses on these main ideas:

  • Building a positive team environment.
  • Developing individual and team learning.
  • Using games to allow players to solve problems. Guided discovery is also a go-to teaching tool.
  • Relying on effective use of listening and questioning, referred to as “pull and ask.”

Player-centered coaching actively engages players in their own learning and can lead to greater understanding, stronger retention of skills and tactics and enhanced technical application on the field.

The truth is that in the world of coaching, the best coaches are also students of the game and are always researching on how to become better leaders. If you want to create an environment on your team that will give your players a fulfilling experience, create a solid team philosophy and create amazing camaraderie and, if you ask me, use a player-centered approach. That way, win or lose, you are teaching the players to be good decision makers and helping them to enjoy all the game has to offer.