Category: Coaching


Dedication to Continuous Improvement or “Kaizen” - Blog Entry for

Beth Barz, ChPC - Rugby

Dedication to Continuous Improvement or “Kaizen”

“Kaizen”, or the art of continuous improvement, was studied extensively in the early 2000s. The concept is that a system (or person) can benefit from continuous improvement over time, rather than monumental changes that happen irregularly or at long intervals. For coaches, we need to focus on kaizen for our athletes and programs, and also for ourselves. Here are two quick ways to ensure you can make kaizen happen in your own coaching practice.

1. Ask questions
2. Read

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ONTARIO COACHES CONFERENCE 2015: Breakthrough - Taking Your Coaching to the Next Level


Breakthrough - taking your coaching to the next level

Keith Wilkinson and Lina Febbraro

With over 200 fellow coaches, we attended the 2015 Ontario Coaches’ conference at the Sheraton Parkway hotel in Richmond Hill. The conference is held annually and this year’s theme was “Breakthrough. Taking Your Coaching to the Next Level.” We both attended workshops and we have included links to thePowerpoint notes from some of the sessions.

The conference provided an opportunity to share principles and good practice, hear new ideas, examine competency-based learning and marvel at Jamie McDonald’s “Find Your Super Power.” As well as the conference, participants had the opportunity to study three days of PD courses for NCCP qualifications. Courses included Aboriginal Coaching module; Leading Drug Free SportFundamental Movement SkillsManaging Conflict; Prevention and Recovery from Injury; Psychology of Performance and, Resistance training. There was a presentation from High Five Linking Resiliency with Coaching and a number of HP stream linked workshops.  

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The Race to Nowhere In Youth Sports - John O'Sullivan

“My 4th grader tried to play basketball and soccer last year,” a mom recently told me as we sat around the dinner table after one of my speaking engagements.

“It was a nightmare. My son kept getting yelled at by both coaches as we left one game early to race to a game in the other sport. He hated it.” “I know,” said another. “My 10 year old daughter’s soccer coach told her she had to pick one sport, and start doing additional private training on the side, or he would give away her spot on the team.”

So goes the all too common narrative for American youth these days, an adult driven, hyper competitive race to the top in both academics and athletics that serves the needs of the adults, but rarely the kids.

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A New Perspective - Jacob Swabrick

Having coached several seasons of club rugby and at all age groups both boys and girls;  I understand the frustration of the summer season and player priorities not always being rugby.  There is nothing worse than game day coming and a key player at a key position is nowhere to be seen.  Or knowing a player will be away and trying desperately as a coach to train another player to comprehend the skillset needed to fill in for a game or two at this position(s).

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Keith Wilkinson


For three days in September 2012, I attended a safety workshop in Mississauga for a major energy company. The workshop was led by three learning facilitators from a professional training company and I was able to compare and contrast their approach and facilitation with those of NCCP LFs.

Later in the Fall, I attended a three day CAO ( Coaching Association of Ontario) Facilitators workshop in Gravenhurst. The facilitation and approach was surprisingly similar, given the differences between corporate and sports coaching contexts.

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Coaching Conference Notes

Of all the roles, stances and expectations that are thrust upon coaches, the most important is to be a supportive educator — inspiring, enabling, supporting and empowering. And all these are well beyond the bounds of teaching sports skill and expertise. Of all the knowledge and skills coaches are expected to have, Kidd believes that the most important is an explicit pedagogy or ‘logic model’, with a curriculum of self and social discovery, and the experience of putting these into practice. It is not enough to say we believe in sport as education. The research says that we must become much more intentional – about both the provision of opportunity, and the quality of the experience provided by sports

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The modern Rugby coach seems to have been fooled into thinking that the coaching job entails production of a generation of "multi-phase-contact, breakdown-oriented players who run around in pods, setting targets for strike runners to exploit, while the hoi-poloi of the team look to barge into rucks and tidy up loose ball.” It is not a great concept for the art, speed and fluidity of the game. There is no evidence of game sense, imagination or creativity. However, I still hear this language at practice sessions, the length and breadth of the country.

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A Game Sense Approach to Coaching.

As Technical Director of Rugby Ontario I spend a lot of time around the playing and practicing of rugby in Ontario and across Canada. One thing often stands out to me as one fundamental issue (amongst others) that coaches must address for the betterment of the game.

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Planning for Performance: Season Planning

All coaches undertake some level of planning when it comes to delivering an effective practice.  This planning could be in the form of email exchanges or phone calls to coordinate with assistant coaches, or spending the first ten minutes practice sorting out the session while the athletes play touch.   Some of the factors that go into planning are the number of athletes, their level of rugby skill and athletic ability, the length of the session, the amount of space available and the number of days to the next game.  These are all important factors when determining the goals of your practice.  It is counterproductive to plan a practice that develops advanced strategic play when the basic technical skills required are lacking – for example working on advanced scrummaging techniques (nudges/wheels) when basic body positioning is poor.   In my experience, effective coaches take a step back from session planning and start with a season plan. They establish goals for the year – what techn ...

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The Breakdown

The Breakdown 

June 14

Coaches, players, referees and spectators are often on different pages when it comes to rugby. They see things from very different perspectives. But one thing all of these key stakeholders agree on is that the Breakdown (tackle and ruck) area is not fully understood. Many do not understand what they can or can't do, it happen so quickly and is so dynamic that many things can happen at once.

The follow series of clips have been provided to Rugby Canada by the Australian Rugby Union. They are the best video clips on the Tackle and Ruck that I have seen and should help all involved get a clearer picture of the Breakdown. 

Watch them in sequence to get a full understanding of this dynamic part of rugby. 


Tackle Definition

The Tackler

Tackled Players

Arriving Players

The Gate

Off-side at the Tackle

The Ruck


 Joining Players


Ball Out



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