A winning habit creates a self-belief that results in more and more wins. A team comes together to overcome the odds and keeps surprising everyone. The TOTAL opposite happens with a losing streak…
Nothing works. You train, you try, you wrack your brain, but just nothing wants to work. The ball doesn’t bounce right. The referee always seems to favor your opponents. It just feels hopeless.
You need a way to get around it even though it might feel like an impossible task.
Breaking the losing streak – the 1st step
Getting to the root cause is where you need to get to. As a 1st step, it is however not the best option. You should get to it eventually, but there are a few things that you need to get to first.
The first thing to do is to get a win. Not necessarily a game, but another win. Figure out a couple of the things you are not getting right, for example, scrums aren’t working, you dropped too many balls and you lost your own rucks.
Take one of the problem areas and look to do that better in the next game. You have to get some stats of how you were doing in the previous game.
Let’s take the lost rucks. If you had 22 of your own rucks and lost 8, you need to make that the target of your next win. The success rate of the rucks was at just over 60%.
Make sure your team knows about it and that you will aim to get to 80% or 90% success rate during the next game.
You can look at ruck drills and improve the team’s overall technique and speed to the breakdown.
Improving ruck success from one game to the next is a win. On the back of that win, your team had more possession, more opportunities for continuity and that feeling of success.
Step 2 in breaking the losing streak
Breaking the losing streak is a process. It rarely happens quickly or overnight.
The most important part is to reinforce the positives and adding to it.
So now that you have sorted out the rucks, what was the next biggest problem that your team is facing?
During the following week, you keep praising the team for their ruck performance and tell them that you will deal with the next problem in the same way.
So next up you take on the scrums (or whatever the next problem is).
Getting back to winning games: Step 3
The process is energy-sapping and difficult to work through. If you keep working on focusing on a specific problem skill and then praising success, the mindset of players will change.
If you rinse and repeat this a few times, you will start winning many of the smaller battles. Winning regular small battles help to change the mindsets of players. They will start to believe that they can win.
This is the time to remind them of how far they have come. Time to remind them of what they have accomplished.
When they start seeing their wins in smaller areas of the game piling up, it becomes time to put things together.
Creating a finished product
Once you start getting small wins, you should make sure that you don’t lose your edge. The skills that brought the small wins should be practiced in short focused bursts to make sure you the players stay sharp.
If they keep their edge with the improved skills, you can start adding more during other sessions. It then becomes a lot easier to implement a style of play and have a rugby game plan implemented.
When you start tasting success it is extremely important to keep the focus. The smallest misstep can result in taking a few steps back. So make sure that you keep reassessing your successes and failures.
Stats and data will always be your friend. It is the easiest way to make sure that you see any early warning signs or problems.