Constraints of Twitter on Coaching Sebastian Delport

 
 
Getting some great session reports for my “Constraints of Twitter on coaching challenge“.
Keep them coming! Mail me at mark.kss@gmail.com
 
First up is Australian Rugby coach Sebastian Delport. You can reach Sebastian on twitter at @SebDelport 
 
BACKGROUND:
 
I am a rugby coach based in Perth. I currently hold two positions at the club I am affiliated with, namely Rugby CoachingCoordinator and Head Coach for the Academy. I undertook your challenge with my Academy players (U14 – U17) during one of our weekly sessions. We are currently in the first Cycle of our In-season phase of the year, and the focus for the session was two-fold:
 
1. Defence – Principles and structures at a unit or team level.  
2. Counter-attack – Recognise key moments of transition, possession or pressure, and act decisively. 
 
To reinforce the mental aspect of these topics, I made the theme for the session ‘Turnover Tuesday!’. The emphasis was on staying focused and maintaining a positive mindset. 
 
THE SESSION:
 
It was a 90 minute session that was broken up as follows:
 
Warm-up – 15 minutes. Activation drills/games and dynamic stretches. 
 
Personal Time – 15 minutes. Athletes may use this time to work on a rugby related project/skill of their choice. This was an experiment that I ran to give the players more responsibility for their own learning. See some of my previous Tweets for more details on the feedback that I got and my observations. 
 
Learning activities – 60 minutes. The remainder of the session was broken down into SSG’s. We used a 10 minutes on/5 minutes off format, and played non-contact 8v8. 
 
TWITTER CHALLENGE:
 
I explained to my players that I was going to be using a new method of communication, and detailed how it would be styled after Twitter. However, I did adapt your guidelines in one specific way. I gave myself 3 Tweets. One to use in order to communicate the key learning objective for the session:
 
“Recognise key moments of transition and act decisively. Attack space across all thirds of the pitch using a pass, kick or line break.” 
 
One to use when in possession/on the counter-attack:
 
“In possession, decision making is key. Ask: Where is the space? How can we attack that space? Where is my support? – Protect the ball!” 
 
One to use when in defence/pressure phase:
 
“Pressure the opposition. Deny space – Line Speed. Recover – What is your role? Are you in position? Get compact – Line Integrity.” 
 
I used these tweets as necessary during the rest intervals between SSG’s. I have already developed a Q&A culture during our rest intervals, and I found that these tweet sized chunks served as a great focus point for the players. If a certain aspect of their play was needing a bit of work, or just to be brought to their attention, I tweeted the relevant bit of information and the players automatically picked up our area of focus. They could raise points, discuss the tweet and how it related to their performance, or just ask me a question. 
 
This was a great challenge for me personally. Reducing my time spent talking has been one of my key areas for improvement this year, and this challenge really helped focus my thoughts. I enjoyed the experience, and whilst it was new for the players, their feedback was positive. 
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