February 26, 2016

Elements to Recruiting at Club Level - part 2

Written by:
Dan Ritchie
What strategies do coaches use to entice a player to join their organisation?
What characteristics should a player possess in order to make them an asset to your team?
How do you build a team on with little/no budget?

In Part 1 of this series I looked at some of the methods used by coaches to recruit players. In Part 2 I will look the ideal type of player to recruit and how I believe this can impact on building a team at club level.

I believe the secret to this is going back to the giving player’s opportunities approach. Every human wants to be wanted at some point in their life, by this I mean everyone enjoys someone seeking them out in recognition of their qualities or talents; rugby players are no exception to this. From the reserve grader who plays his heart out every week that probably needs a bit of encouragement to succeed at the next level to the quitter achiever who played amongst a host of representative players and received little to no recognition. Both these examples have points to prove, that they can play at a high level. It takes a good coach to identify this; but it takes a great coach to make it come to fruition. Sometimes it can be as simple as a phone call from a coach that can inspire confidence in these players because they are thinking ‘this person took the time to ring me and ask me to play for them’.

Imagine having 2 or 3 teams worth of guys who aren’t perceived to be ‘rock star’ players all playing with a point to prove or because they are in a team with all their mates. Fun and enjoyment in sport are highly infectious in a club environment, especially when there is some success. If coaches can manage to recruit a group of mates to play together, you begin to have the foundation of a close knit team; fill the remaining spots with players who can really help excel the team to greater heights and you are well on your way to some positive results.

Teams with a common bond are often the hardest teams to defeat, simply because they play for each other, not wanting to play for their own instant personal gain, but because they don’t want to let their mate beside them down, they also feel comfortable playing beside each other and they have a good knowledge of how their team mates play, enabling everyone to ‘bounce off each other’ in matches.

Recruiting experienced or x-factor players to complement this existing foundation is certainly a proven formula for many sides, however I would urge coaches to consider how these players brought in fit into their environment. I have heard many astute coaches ask before anything else when considering a player ‘is he a good bloke?’ The All-Blacks have the famous ‘no dickheads’ policy which saw a drastic improvement in their culture and results.

While some recruiting can be done through agencies; the best recruiting is often done through player and coach network power; the existing knowledge of the player as a person is enough to assess whether they will be a good acquisition or not. I believe coaches need to consider all avenues when recruiting and thoroughly research prospective players.

In my experience with recruiting, particularly from overseas; sometimes players CV’s can be slightly embellished and while the references about their playing ability may be accurate; their suitability to the prospective club can be hard to gauge. The teams I have been involved with who have recruited from overseas have usually done so through the word of a trusted team mate, friend or coach. Having a first-hand knowledge of the environment the player is potentially coming into and matching that with their knowledge of the player’s personality is more likely to produce a more successful match of player and club.

Ferrari, the globally famous car manufacturers, are leading the way with their recruitment and have many elements that I believe can be applied to any sporting team.

"Ferrari values the individual first. A person’s freedom to express him or herself is given highest priority, because Ferrari believes this is the key to creative and successful team collaboration."

The selection process is detailed and precise – just what you might expect from a company that depends on meticulous and uncompromising attention to detail. Candidates are examined not only on their professional, technical and academic excellence, but also for their compatibility with Ferrari principles and values, international mindset and multicultural experience." (Source)

The old cliché; a champion team always beats a team of champions; certainly applies to recruiting.

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