May 15, 2024

Supporting Coach Education with Coach Logic

Written by:
Mark Cairns

I jumped at the chance recently to be an 'Educator' on the World Rugby Level 3 Coach Award being run by Rugby Europe, this was for a few reasons.

Prior to creating Coach Logic with Andy, I was a PE Teacher and I love being involved in the learning process. I get a lot of satisfaction from seeing people develop and I still get this hit from coaching my local rugby club, Currie Chieftains but I was excited to work with a small group of coaches already operating at a high level.

I am a big believer that one of the best ways to learn is to teach others. By supporting coaches on the level 3 course I was challenging my own knowledge whilst also learning a great deal from the group. I had to develop a real understanding of the Level 3 course in order to provide value to the coaches I was working with.

When Andy and I developed Coach Logic, we were creating it for Coaches to better engage their players in video analysis. We were solving our own problems as at the time we were playing for our club team and coaching our school and college players. By contrast the use of Coach Logic by Sporting Governing Bodies (SGB's) to deliver their coaching awards has gradually evolved over time and I have always been aware in the need to better understand this use case.

Dave Fraser (Development & Workforce Training Manager at England Rugby) presenting at the World Rugby Conference in Japan 2019

England Rugby were the first organisation to approach us about using the platform in this way for their Level 3 coaches. After a really successful delivery that year, we were asked to co-present with England Rugby at the World Rugby Conference in Japan, during the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Fast forward to 2024 and we now work with many SGB's to help them deliver a hybrid model of Coach Education. This includes a mixture of in person delivery ie on-site conferences, group work and simulated coaching, alongside remote support via webinars, video calls and coaches capturing and uploading their training sessions to get feedback from their mentors.

The Course Starts | Day 1 & 2  in Brussels, Belgium

I was excited to get to know the other Educators and Coaches on the Level 3 award and getting together, face to face for the first couple of days provided an opportunity for this. Some things are definitely better done in person and I think these first 2 days were really important. My use of Coach Logic during these 2 days was to emphasise the key points made in the presentations being delivered by the Educator team. I posted content to the Feed on the Rugby Europe Coach Logic platform in the form of Images, Video, PDFs and PowerPoints.

Gerry Roberts (WRU) tasked the candidates with posting a picture that best represented their principles in defence
I created a playlist of South Africa's defence v Scotland to illustrate the points made by Gerry and others on the course

My Level 3 Coach Candidates

I was really lucky to be supporting such experienced coaches.

  • Sean Dougall | Contact Skills Coach at La Rochelle
  • Michael Poppmeier | Forwards Coach at Tel Aviv Heat & Rugby Deutschland
  • Johan Hartwigsen | DOR at Oisterwijk RFC & Pathway Coach at Rugby Nederlands

To get the coaches used to using Coach Logic I tasked them with being the coach of Scotlands or South Africas next opponent in the Rugby World Cup. They were to review an area of the game and present this as an opportunity or threat. They used the Playlist area to create their video previews and then present this to the group on Day 2. This task provided them with an opportunity to present on an area that they were confident in, which meant I could focus more on their presentation style rather than their knowledge.

Sean presented on South Africa's contact skills and the opportunity to target the wide channels

Continuous Support

As I have experienced previously, it's typical to leave these types of events motivated to get stuck in to your coaching but then reality hits and other commitments take over. All the things you intended to action find themselves at the back of the list and the motivation to continue to develop slips a little. It's not until the next scheduled meet that you start to pick things up again and in a mad rush tick the boxes that need ticked! 

I was therefore determined to make full use of Coach Logic and other digital tools to stay connected with my coaching group. I asked the Coaches to send me footage of themselves coaching so I could feedback on their performance, just like I would when reviewing my players in a game. I used the analysis tools to clip up moments in their sessions and send specific clips to the Feed for further discussion and clarity. Here are a few examples below.

I created clips using the video analysis tools and sent specific moments to Johan for discussion
I also created clips to reinforce the positive coaching moments
I sent clips to the Feed for further discussion
The feed was used as our main communication source, ie to plan meetings and to seek support

Video Calls and Final Assessments

The assessment criteria for the World Rugby Level 3 is comprehensive and coaches need to demonstrate competence over a wide range of areas, here are a few examples to give you an idea of the breadth.

6. Involve players in developing a code of conduct
12. Ensure the coaching environment is safe
17. Evaluate the effectiveness of the coaching programme based on feedback from a variety of sources
26. Develop a game profile including patterns of play

As you can see from the above, it's much more than the coaches on field coaching ability and I used a combination of recorded zoom meetings and uploaded files to gather evidence for my final assessment.

In our first group meeting coaches were tasked with presenting the reasons for their training session. Prior to this meeting I asked the coaches to upload their session plans to the Feed and the recorded training sessions to the Video Room. As the session was being done via Zoom, I recorded their presentations and then uploaded and shared this with them on Coach Logic.

Using this task I was able to collect lots of evidence to support my final assessment, here are some examples below.

Sean presented on a session he did on securing possession from a contestable kick
Sean used match analysis data to inform his session plan, he also used this tool to reinforce good behaviours
Michael demonstrated how he used match analysis to inform his preparation for the Rugby Europe Super Cup Final

By clipping up the group presentations and previous coaching videos, I had started to accumulate a lot of evidence to complete the assessment of Johan, Michael and Sean. I used the Playlist functionality to collate all the clips from the various coaching and meeting videos to create Evidence Playlists. Once I had gone through the assessment of the coaches I knew where the gaps were and I set up a final meetings with each coach so I could complete their assessment. I was open about the areas I needed more evidence on and asked the coaches to prepare to cover these areas on the video call.

Example of the Evidence Playlists i created for Michael, Sean and Johan
I was very open with each Coach on what areas they still needed to cover
In some cases I just needed to ask the right questions to get evidence of competency on the final assessment criteria
An example of Johan's Evidence Playlist with Assessment Areas listed on the right

The purpose of creating the evidence playlists was to support my final assessment but it also provided the coaches with a take away other than a certificate, which I am pleased to say they all got! I also think there is real value for the coaches in being able to reflect on how they have progressed throughout the year.

I asked Sean, Johan and Michael to provide me with some feedback on their use of Coach Logic throughout the course and I was really pleased with their positive feedback.

My Final Thoughts

I am so pleased that I had an opportunity to be part of the World Rugby Level 3 course and a big thanks to Charlie Brown of Rugby Europe for getting me involved. I was very fortunate to work with such experienced and pro active coaches who definitely gave me nudge along the way to keep everything on track!

With a busy life juggling my own coaching, family and managing Coach Logic I did find it difficult to prioritise the Level 3 Mentoring as much as would have liked to. I think that's where the use of Coach Logic comes into it's own, having all our interactions across the year in one place was really helpful when making my final assessment. There are some platform areas I would like to improve having now gone through the process myself but overall I am pleased at the value we add to Coach Education programmes.



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