“When you do kapa haka, you’ll be practising a bracket which is the full set of songs. So you’ll have haka, the poi, different waiata. You practice what you’re meant to be doing when you go out on to the stage. You start by practicing your full performance rather than the techniques. So for rugby it would be like teaching you the game first then giving you the techniques and skills after if you needed them.” (18 year old girl).
This quote came from a young rugby player who compared her learning experience in rugby to other contexts, in this case kapa haka. So how could this perception apply to sport coaching?
Often when coaching sport we have a tendency to coach our players all the techniques and skills before learning the game. We’ll run a series of drills and activities, then hope like heck our players can apply them in a game or match situation.
So how about flipping the order around? Teach your players the game, then the required skills and techniques if they need them. Our players signed up to play the game, so hook them in by learning the game first, as then they'll have a better appreciation of their sport, why they need certain skills and where certain skills and techniques fit in the bigger picture.
It sounds like this girls kapa haka teacher was on to it. Let's hope that we can prepare our players to perform on the stage.
Image: Melissa Banks