You are here >> Other News >> Coaching young players

Coaching young players

An article about Coaches and Coaching Young Players by Mike Penistone

If you coach at any level in your club, I suggest you read this article from Mike Penistone, because if you act upon it, it will help you to become a better coach and then hopefully your players will enjoy your sessions even more than they do now. Kind regards Robin Websdale (Staffordshire M&Y Chair).

Coaches and coaching young players

A case for a new approach to coaching young players

Let the kids learn how to play in-between.

“Where is the self-discovery and understanding in your program?”

If a coach focus’s solely on structure and repetition, because he wants to win, his players brains will cease to function through lack of use.

We can’t blame players for poor decision making in senior rugby, if their development history contains no decision making.

How long before the players go off for the half time briefing and are given a new set of patterns. “Right lads we’re running patterns K to P in the second half.” That is the threat!!

What excites players, coaches and spectators?

Answer, “Fast skilful action.”

When mum asks, “what was training like tonight?” as Jonny drops his bag in the hall and heads for his i pad, “Brilliant, loved it,” is what she wants to hear!!

She can sit down with a glass of red and think…thank god for that!

Coaches, “Would you like to be coached by you?”

We must create coaching environments where players can express themselves. Sure, there are times when what they do will drive you insane! But you must see it through the players eyes. He/she will learn from those experiences, because the threat of non-selection is the ultimate penalty for poor performance, and easier for him/her to accept.

When you challenge young players you ignite their brain, the lights come on. The more success he/she has the brighter the light.

Where is the opportunity for success in your coaching session?

It is so important, in this world of mass media support, both verbal, visual and written to be an innovator rather than a copier, not to seek the answer from Google or a clip from a professional game, but be creative, because just like the kids, your brain must also light up!! And you look at your players every session.

Your role as coach is to develop the young player by improving his skill set, supporting his natural ability and challenging his understanding through carefully designed “over-load games, (more attackers than defenders)

“Team play is a blend of understanding with attitude; of team awareness with individual virtuosity, of practised patterns with spontaneous reaction. The blending is elusive and short lived.”

Remember that, Every International rugby player was a 12-year-old boy once. They did not descend from on high aged 21. They learnt the basics and rode the pathway.

Future generations of senior rugby players will never forget the help, guidance and passion you instilled in them, because to run out on any given Saturday at any level is the greatest feeling of all.

Get it right and they will thank you for the rest of their lives!

Mike Penistone