September 21, 2021

Culture is not words on a wall...

Written by:
Mark Cairns

In the final week of “Cairnsy’s Coaching Cologne: Smells Like Currie”, Mark shares his excitement at getting back to the club, being on the grass, and coaching in real life.

As always, Mark has done some great work and, whilst he has done this remotely, there are some brilliant takeaways to build into your coaching practise.

Let’s pick up where we finished last week, you had a Culture meeting; how was it?

We used Zoom to facilitate this. There was great turnout with over 30 squad members joining on a Monday night around there regular commitments.

It was emphasised that it is all about living a culture, rather than words on a wall.

As coaches and senior players, we chose the words, and we asked the players to bring those words to life. During the session, we put the squad in Zoom rooms, and they collaborated around what the words look like.

Using Other Collaborative Platforms to Engage the Squad

It is being built around behaviours to ‘BE A Good Chieftain’ (BEAGC), which applies as much on-field as it does off-field, there’s a leadership group and some core behaviours to help everyone live this.

Alongside Zoom, we used a Jam Board, which is effectively an online whiteboard that you can add sticky notes to. It’s free and well worth checking out.

You can’t just switch a good culture on, are there examples of players living BEAGC?

Definitely, and what’s interesting is that since the meeting, people are looking for it more, and this is spreading through the club.

We received a really positive message from Biggar a couple of weeks back around our conduct post-match. Our president shared it with Ally, who immediately passed it to the squad. I then followed this up to reinforce the values related to this.

There’s also been some on-field examples, where Carson identifies that he could have done better from an effort perspective. We’re not looking for players to pour their hearts out every week, but people willing to identify times they might have done better is really powerful.

You’ve got the first league game on Saturday, how do you bring everything together and make it stick for the players?

Making it stick is the challenge as a coach.

I need to make it stick in the way I present it. I will try to think of something they can connect it to.

It can sometimes come across as a little harsh. For example, overall we had a great performance against Heriot’s, but there could have been more effort in defence.

The analogy I came up with is that we were getting back into position was like we were doing the early stages of the beep test.

We switch on really quickly in attack, so we need to replicate this in defence.

You use playlists to bring things together, but you get the players involved from the outset…

Our video analysis process is very collaborative, which Coach Logic allows, so I don’t need to do the leg work. Based on squad number, each player will take 5 minutes each so we can quickly identify the key events in the match.

Create Custom Playlists and Highlights to Make it Stick

This means I can jump into the video on the clubs Coach Logic platform, quickly identify the defensive clips (if that’s our focus), and start creating playlists to share with the players and reinforce what we’re trying to achieve.

The playlist can be customised, which might include bringing in some clips from other video such as a previous match on Coach Logic.

We spoke about you becoming redundant(ish), but you see ‘making it stick’ as the skill of the coach to bring it all together with clarity on the message…

Exactly, the players have got great awareness as they are part of the process from the beginning, but the coaches will bring it all together for real clarity.

We may also bring in some footage from another environment such as South Africa’s 3rd test defence against the Lions.

We’re not expecting them to be South Africa, but there are principles such as getting back in position quickly that we can learn from.

I’m now looking forward to the first game, getting back on the grass and coaching in ‘real life’.

Watch the full discussion here.

If you’d like to find out more about how Coach Logic can support your development as a coach, and improve the performance of your team, please get in touch.

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