018. 19 Things About 2019 #18

#18  The Webb Ellis Trophy will be won by the top two inches


The skinny

The physicality of World Cup rugby is a given. The differentiator is the mental stuff.


Why this matters

Yes, of course, you want players of exceptional skills and strength and speed and stamina.

All those attributes are the ones that the sports scientists can replicate for you. And all the other teams are doing it, too.

The difference comes in how each player thinks about “What should I do next?” What are the other team doing? What are my team mates doing? Where on the field should I be? What could go wrong, for us or for them?  Weather, ground, light.  A hundred variables to compute each second.

That’s where the coaching staff make the difference: by helping each player make the best decision about ‘next’ a thousand times a match.

That’s the difference between good coaches and great coaches. The former inculcate patterns of physical behaviour. The latter have training systems that build up players’ mental stamina and agility, so that they can make split-second good decisions under pressure.



Back in 2015 Shag set out his approach:

“Our job is to make the complex simple,” he said. “The simpler you can make it for somebody, the easier it is to do it.”

And late in a match, when the oxygen deficit is really beginning to hit – and even more if you need to go deep into extra time – having simple ideas in your head will be the difference.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.