Posted by: fiore | January 26, 2009

Young players or young mercenaries?

Even the very serious Jonny Wilkinson allows himself to celebrate every now and then

Even the very serious Jonny Wilkinson allows himself to celebrate every now and then

During past Christmas holidays I had the chance and the pleasure to meet up with a couple of my former players: one has moved to a Super 10 Club Rugby Academy, while the other is still playing for Cus Pavia. Talking about their experiences in new environments and with new coaches I’ve been stunned to hear that at the S10 Rugby Academy the young players are brought up and treated like little soldiers. There’s very small space for psychology and the problems of adolescence, and here we are talking about a 15 y.o. boy who is far from his home and family. Here players are not allowed to exult when scoring a try because “professional players don’t do it“, or are reproached if they scores a try not following the game plan. Not an encourangent, not a “well done”, not a pat on the back… 😦

Of course I haven’t heard the other side of the story but… the idea that I got from this tales is that in this Academy they are not forging a new generation of players but little soldiers for the “Foreign Legion”, more mercenaries than professionals.

2008 IRB Player of the Year Shane Williams is not shy

2008 IRB Player of the Year Shane Williams is not shy

I have always thought that, part of the great appeal of our game (apart from rolling in the mud!) stands in the attachment to the club jersey and team, and if you fail to obtain this attachment you will produce players who do their job but won’t put their heart in what they are doing. And if a coach is able to inspire them, to listen to them, to advise and lead them, he/she will be a successful coach and have a successful and happy team, and his/her players will give it all for him/her and the team.

This doesn’t mean to pamper players but to use a bit of wisdom, heart and common sense.

BTW, I’ve been moved to know that they both miss their old coach.

😉

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