The past few weeks have been interesting. There was a week that we couldn’t practice as the athletics had to finish up…. trials on at the end of February… then two weeks of practice leading up to our first game on 14 March.
Our first game was against Frikkie Meyer from Thabazimbi. A school with lots of kids who grew up on farms in rural South Africa. Tough kids who can play a very physical game of rugby.
We had two good weeks of preparation leading up to the game with the team coming together more and more as we came closer to game day.
The result however didn’t end how we wanted it. It was a 0-26 loss on the day…
What went wrong?
The preparation was good. The skills were at a good level. Not perfect, but definitely at a level where they should have been able to beat their opponents.
Their performance was at 50% of their capabilities at most. But why?
Were we supposed to spend more time on certain skills? Should we address the weaknesses that we saw on the field as coaches?
No. It is all mental
You have to know the history of the team to understand what happened.
During their 2019 season as a group, they didn’t win 1 game.
They have been scarred by this and have lost almost all hope.
Many players were not even trying to put in any effort toward the end of last season. Why would they?
Bringing back the hope
This is one of the biggest challenges that a team (players and coach) will ever face. It can however be overcome and we look forward to the challenge.
The team needs a win. Any win.
What we have to work with is 2 practice sessions (due to Coronavirus) and a short rugby tour next weekend with two games to be played.
The focus of this week will be to help the players see that they can win. It doesn’t matter in which way. They just need to know that they can win.
We will not be focusing on our regular practice sessions. The main focus will be on running game-specific drills.
Everything will be a competition and we will ONLY praise them for their successes. We will not give any negative feedback.
The goal is to create a greater positive connection with rugby, rather than the constant negatives of losing every Saturday.
This is going to be an interesting, challenging and crucial week for the rest of the season.
It is however a great group of players with enough strong leaders in the group to help to turn this around.