• Scott McInnes

#05 | North Star.

Scott McIness with teammates on adult mens rugby team

So why you do what you do is only the first part of the puzzle. That said it's the most important part - the part that gets everyone pointing in the same direction.

Effectively, it's your North Star.

But you can't just leave your people to themselves and expect them to work out what it means to them. That's the job of your leaders- to bring relevance and context.

Let's go back to my rugby club, Suttonians RFC in North Dublin - you might remember it from Blog One (training's back this week- goodbye Sunday lie-ins!!).

As a coaching team, we're the leaders - like all the other coaches in our club and in hundreds of other rugby, soccer and GAA clubs all over the country - and it's our job to bring the club's 'why' to life for our players every Sunday morning.

Maybe that 'why' is as simple as 'We want to be the best club in Dublin'? And if it is, that's fine. It doesn't need to be complicated. It needs to be believable and achievable.

And it needs to be reinforced all the time. To the point where players are reciting it to themselves as they run into every tackle, as they score every try.

Of course, all teams are different and the individuals within those teams are different - they have a different context, different understanding, different skill level. So, as they go from year to year, how you coach and what you coach has to be different.

That's a lot of different to coach.

That said, the purpose remains exactly the same - the 'why you do what you do'. It's constant - it doesn't change.

It's how it's brought to life that's different. And as their coaching team it's our job to do that for them - to work out what they need at that point in time to bring the club's purpose to life - to turn them all towards our North Star.

We need to translate the 'why' in a way they understand and can relate to.

At U6 we lay games, we stretch like Hulk, we coach simple control and basic skills - catching, passing, moving. At U9 we've done a year of tackling and we're building on that with line outs and scrums - it's still fun but there's a definite seriousness (that the players themselves are starting to bring). And at U18, you're training a group of men how to hone their skills, be 5% better, read the other team, be more strategic.

At each stage they need different things from their coaches..

And it's the responsibility of the club to make sure we have what we need to be able to provide that. That we have the required skills, knowledge and equipment; that we do the training, that we know about changes in rules and guidelines. And all the time ensuring that, for the coaches, it's all linked back to that purpose - in our case, because 'we want to be the best club in Dublin'

The best club in Dublin... The best club in Dublin ... The best club in Dublin... The best club in Dublin.

PS - We don't always train in black tie - it was a dare from the night before at the Leinster Players Awards we all attended. Or perhaps we just forgot to get changed? You decide! :-)