Graham Henry and Wayne Smith deliver world class coaching clinic
Published Tuesday, December 3, 2013
by Andrew Smith, BC Rugby Communications

VANCOUVER, BC - The British Columbia Rugby community was treated to a world class learning experience on Monday evening when former All Blacks coaches Sir Graham Henry and Wayne Smith held a clinic at Fortius Sport & Health in Burnaby.

Fresh off their visit to Minnesota just two nights prior, Henry and Smith were on their second stop of a promotional tour for 'The Rugby Site', a unique online resource for coaches of all abilities and levels of experience.

The 110 plus participants in Burnaby came from as far south as Portland, Oregon and also saw a large Alberta rugby contingent in attendance. Planned for four hours, Henry and Smith held discussions for over five and wrapped up the event with a Q & A session.

Unlike most coaching clinics, the pair started the first hour focusing on the off-field essentials to running an effective championship program. Henry, who was head coach of the 2011 Rugby World Cup champions New Zealand All Blacks and now serves as the Blues Technical Director, opened the evening with a discussion centred around the role of the coach.

Smith, now Technical Director of the 2012 and 2013 Super 15 champions Chiefs, spoke proudly of the culture he and his team staff created at their organization, building personal meaning with their players and team. Through engaging their local fan base in a number of community out reach programs and inspiring the players through the history of their region they were representing, a stronger team culture was fostered at the Chiefs. The examples shared were meant to be applicable to any club or team to create a better environment for players to be a part of.

"We're not looking to provide skills and drills sessions," said Smith. "What we're doing is showing coaches the importance of building personal meaning with their players and it's also an opportunity to have a strategic look at the game. We know when we travel to places like Minneapolis and other parts of the world that there will be coaches who have never played the game before."

While some tactical sessions were outlined with the traditional whiteboard x's and o's as well as video clips to provide visual examples, the emphasis was primarily on larger concepts of the game. Ideas tabled included empowering the players on the field to be their own decision makers, to strip complex concepts down to the basics and to not over-complicate scenarios for players.

A key example from Henry was when he discussed his early tenure with the All Blacks and was trying to introduce upwards of 15 set plays to his squad. Fly half Dan Carter, widely respected as one of the most technically sound players of the modern game, took Henry aside and told him he should only provide five different options.

Topics also discusses on Monday included how to score points using key stats analysis, a number of which showed how tries are being generated off of line outs, scrums, scrum penalties and turnovers.

Through his own experiences in Super Rugby, Smith discussed the importance of how teams could use time in between games to change the momentum.

The primary example was how the Chiefs recently had to rally after a tough defeat to the Crusaders in the 2013 Super Rugby season, losing by nearly 30 points. Using a number of motivational tactics and building personal meaning for their players, the Chiefs overcame the Crusaders in the semifinals and eventually went on to win their second straight Super Rugby title after defeating the Brumbies.

Discussions were also held around expectations for a team's standards and behaviour, as well as the concept of dual management using player leadership groups and coach leadership groups.

Monday night came to a close around 10:30 after an intriguing Q & A session with Henry and Smith answering questions from the coaches.

Less than 12 hours later on Tuesday morning, Henry and Smith were out at UBC for an on-field session with Canada's Under-20 national team players. The open session was attended by a number of coaches involved in Monday's clinic at Fortius.


About The Rugby Site
Each coach who participated in the clinic was also provided with a one-year membership to 'The Rugby Site.'

The Rugby Site is dedicated to helping everyone involved in rugby learn direct from the best players and coaches in the game. Including Graham Henry, Wayne Smith, Victor Matfield, Brian Ashton, Mike Cron, Joe Schmidt, Richie McCaw, Sam Warburton, Dan Carter, Shane Williams, Martin Castrogiovanni, Gregor Townsend, Courtney Lawes and Bismarck du Plessis.

The site's in depth coaching videos provide ideas, activities, drills and processes from each coach or player around how to technically and tactically develop that aspect of play.

Their unique app also features free resources, text and video blogs and comments direct from The Rugby Site's coaches and players. The app is loaded with great features for anyone searching for a competitive advantage and wanting to further develop their coaching skills, team or improve their game as a player. The resource provides in-depth videos fronted by some of the best coaches in the game. It also includes player fronted modules from some of the world's most influential players.

The resource allows you to get extra tips with downloadable companion PDF's, access videos live on the field with your players without having to use your mobile data and provides you with the ability to capture notes in the in-app notes section on the field as it happens.

For more information visit www.therugbysite.com

The 2013 coaching clinic is proudly presented by BC Rugby partner X-Treme Rugby Wear.

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