Now poor old Ian Foster, Sam Cane and the All Black camp have been put through the ringer the past week or so. Every man and his dog seems to have an opinion. But does anyone really know? Virtually none of the people writing opinion articles or posting on social media have stepped foot in the ABs camp, so how is it possible to have a credible opinion? Yes we can see how a team is playing, but surely we can’t conjure up reasons for performances without seeing the inside?
There are too many factors that contribute to performance results. Player ability, opposition ability, referee decisions, player development programmes, competition structures, game-plan (or execution of it), cohesion, fitness, experience, time of season, Covid… (and maybe too many drills, not enough games?)... Some are controllable, some are not.
This scrutiny and pressure is not only for AB's coaches. Coaches at many levels will feel pressure to get results. The key to navigating this pressure - get support! Whether you are coaching youth, club, representative or high performance sport programmes, get support from external people. If you’re appointing / supporting coaches then provide support. Both coaches and key leaders need to put in measures to support and track progress throughout a campaign. The level will determine the measures. All too often something happens pre-season and post-season, with nothing in the middle. Get people into your environment throughout your campaign. Don’t wait until results and / or the end of the season. That’s purely reactive.
Picture: Phil Walter
And to the aspirational coaches out there...
Many grassroot coaches out there have aspirations of climbing the coaching ranks and coaching professionally. Most can identify problems in, around, above and below and genuinely feel they can step in and fix them all. But very few succeed to the extent they had planned. Most come in, work way too hard and end up in the same position as the person before them. And then some nail it of course.
Sport at the highest level is massively fickle, where players and especially Head Coaches live and die by results. People in high performance live in a state of constant uncomfortableness. Coaching at this level is not for everyone.
But whatever your ambitions, you need to seriously consider if coaching professionally is for you and your loved ones. Consider answering these questions?
Why do I want to coach professionally?
What am I prepared to give up?
Who do I need to have serious conversations with?
Go deep with this and then you'll be a bit clearer if it's for you.