The role of the coach varies greatly depending on the level at which the team operates. At grassroots level it’s about developing players – technically and personally – while at international level the coach is responsible for team selection, performance and results.
A coach takes on many interchangeable roles, such as leader, manager, teacher and organiser. The coach needs to have a knowledge of the game and its Laws, motivation, physical fitness and an understanding of how to coach and improve players.
As well as the 15 players in the starting line-up, a team can also have replacements. The coach can make a pre-agreed number of replacements, for tactical reasons, during the course of the game. Players can also be replaced when injured, either temporarily while a player is assessed and/or receives treatment, or permanently if a player is unable to continue playing.
Another important role of the coach is to instill team spirit into the players. This is especially important at levels where the players take part for the fun of participation rather than the aim of winning.
Becoming a coach
Becoming a coach, and thereby helping others to enjoy the game, can be a fulfilling way to be involved in rugby.
Most people who enter coaching are either former players who want to give something back to rugby or parents who want to help their children experience rugby.
Coaching can be a rich and satisfying experience, but it is also a responsibility not to be taken lightly.
Young people in the care of today’s coaches are the next generation of players, referees and volunteers, and the attitudes they learn from their experiences can affect many aspects of their lives. As a coach, you could help to give them the confidence to succeed, not only in rugby but also in life.
Your club, regional body or national union will be able to help you start on the path to become a coach. A good place to start is with the Rugby Ready programme and you could move from there to a Level 1 Coaching qualification – this takes just one day and gives you a grounding in the basics of coaching.