It was the last weekend of winter in Sydney but you wouldn’t have thought so! A clear blue, cloudless sky topped off with a slight cool breeze ensured that it felt more the perfect summer morning.
We couldn’t decide whether to drive a few miles down the road to the Campbelltown Show or walk across the street to Campbelltown Stadium to watch the Western Suburbs Senior Rugby Grand Finals. The sounds of the crowd gathering at the gates the stadium next door peaked our interest and we ambled across the street to watch a spectacular end of season Seniors game.
It’s quite an achievement for a coach to gather a disparate group of men from various backgrounds together and transform them into a fully functioning, successful team of rugby players. The same applies to amateur parent coaches when kids head out on the field to represent their school or local club. It’s no use having an entire team of star performers if some of those stars are hell bent on doing their own thing. Stars don’t win games on their own – it’s a team effort that gets everyone over the line. The role of the coach is that of conductor, mediator and role model.
A successful team contains individuals willing to co-operate and pitch in to get the best outcome for the team. No individual can be the single deciding factor which gets a team to the grand final. The great parent coach has a sound understanding of individual strengths and weaknesses. They strategically place players in positions where they can achieve the optimal result for the team.
Success is 20% talent and 80% mental attitude. Great coaches model that positive mental attitude. Possessing the right mental attitude transforms a player and they start to show talent. Talented players don’t give up when faced with failure. They are determined to learn from the experience and strive to achieve a personal best next time. They possess the grit and focus to practice until their skills become second nature.
Great coaches encourage players to identify as a single operational unit when on the field. Each individual in these types of teams understands their role and, through practice, can anticipate their team members moves in advance. Great players show up for training sessions, they’re willing to push themselves and encourage other team members to do the same.
Great coaches identify their performers and unashamedly use them to mentor the less experienced ones. They encourage team members to share their knowledge and skills during practice games. Great coaches send out consistent messages to their players throughout the season. It’s no use praising little Johnny every match and criticising little Jeffrey for dropping the ball without doing something positive to guarantee ensure skills are passed on. The aim is to ensure that the juniors of today become the stars of tomorrow through the transference of skills.
Being a great parent coach is never easy and sometimes we all need to take a step back to see what is really happening within the team dynamic. The Penshurst Rissoles were clearly the best team on the day. A perfect example of a team with a skilful coach and talented players, each man determined to perform to their personal best to ensure a great result for their team.