Wow! I have the privilege of being able to teach and evaluate coaching courses with many other amazing Rugby Ontario learning facilitators. Tonight, I was able to do one of my favourite things in coaching and attended a practice with coaches who were finalizing their NCCP coaching certifications by actively coaching a session and by being evaluated.
Firstly, it was a super experience since all three of the coaches were in a course that I co-facilitated last year. Secondly, they all did an incredible amount of learning in the games sense approach between the course and the evaluation. Finally, and most importantly, they totally bought in to a new and sometimes uncomfortable method of coaching due to it's unfamiliarity for most coaches.
The three coaches all had significantly different experiences in rugby going from one year of experiences right through to 30 plus years. They all had been coached by coaches who coached the typical way...warm-up, do some drills, finish with unopposed or semi opposed play. The typical "lots of talk by the coaches and not much work by the players" type of practice....that just isn't athlete-centred, fun or result-producing.... So, they turned the practice upside down, started with a game, asked questions of the players to set the goals of the practice and skill, broke the skill down to key points and mini practice, and then put it all back into a high intensity and extremely fun game. And, believe me, the players had fun - they were also looking forward to leaving for an overseas tour in just about a week's time. Intensity was solid and high quality work by all athletes occurred for 90-95% of the practice.
What solidified this whole experience was hearing a 30 year veteran of the game say (and I'm paraphrasing here), "This approach works. Why wouldn't I use it all the time?" And, "it's what we do in soccer...when I came back to playing rugby I went back to how I was coached long ago...this games sense approach is what we should always be doing!"
Makes my heart happy to hear this stuff. What a fabulous day in coaching!