How does the Principle of ‘Deliberate Practice’ apply to the coaching of Rugby Union…? Part i

So lets look at a definition of ‘Deliberate Practice’:

“It is activity designed specifically to improve performance, often with a teacher’s help; it can be repeated a lot; feedback and results is continuously available; it’s highly demanding mentally, whether the activity is purely intellectual or heavily physical; and it isn’t much fun.” (p.66 ‘TALENT is Overrated’, Geoff Colvin, 2011)

…and a meaning of the 80/20 rule from the book ‘Practice Perfect’:

“The 80/20 rule is sometimes known as the “law of the vital few”: 80% of results turn out to come from 20% of the sources…It suggests that to become great, you should focus more on practicing the 20% of things that most create value than the other 80% of things you could plausibly spend time on…With practice you’ll get stronger results if you spend your time practicing the most important things.” (p.29, Practice Perfect, Doug Lemov, Erica Woolway & Katie Yezzi, 2012)

So how do you find the 20% of the things that are the most important to practice…?

“…experience and data can go a long way to helping you identify this 20%.

…if clear data is not available, consider harnessing the wisdom of crowds.” (p.31, Practice Perfect, 2011)

Ask a group of coaches to name their top 5 most important areas of the game and then take the average…

So the main areas applicable to help identify the 20% for Rugby Union are:-

1, The longer you have been coaching/teaching…the more matches you have watched…the more matches you have observed…the more Conferences/Seminars you have attended…the more reference points you’ll have to be able to identify the most important things to practice…

2, Recording, Analysing & Interpreting the Try Scoring Trends of tries scored in matches…will help you identify the main reasons why tries are scored…

3,  Analysing & Noting the demands of Rugby…will help you identify the fundamental techniques, skills and actions of the game…

4, Seeking the opinions of a good number of coaches from all levels of the game…will help you come to a conclusion to identify the most important things to practice…

In essence: The “core” ‘Principles of Play’ (Games Understanding i.e. one in Attack and one in Defence) and the fundamental “core” technique (i.e. skill)…of Rugby Union…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *