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Insights Shared At National Coaching Conference

Insights Shared At National Coaching Conference

Over 100 coaches who have participated at Stage 4 and Stage 5 on the IRFU Coaching pathway gathered in Dublin last Saturday to share their knowledge, reacquaint some friendships and gain an insight into the thinking of some of the most successful coaches in the northern Hemisphere in recent times.

The conference, organised by IRFU Technical Director Steve Aboud and Training Manager Colin Moran, saw coaches from clubs, schools and the pro game come together to share their experiences.

The coaches present at the conference also heard from Conor O’Shea, director of rugby at Harlequins, Joe Schmidt, head coach at Leinster, Ireland head coach Declan Kidney and technical director for the Italian Rugby Federation Franco Ascione.

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The four presentations were hugely insightful and the information was generously shared by all four contributors.

The conference opened with an address from newly-elected IRFU President Billy Glynn who highlighted the importance of coaching and coach development to the game and the need for a defined career pathway for those who wish to take up the task.

Conor O’Shea presented on the ‘Building Blocks for Success’, speaking eloquently about his approach to instilling a shared culture of success and excellence in Harlequins.

He spoke clearly about the willingness of coaches and players to take risks while also outlining the need for defining process goals within a squad in conjunction to results.

Next up was Joe Schmidt who presented on ‘Developing Self Belief and Motivation’. Outlining his own career path, from schools basketball coach through to Leinster via Palmerston North, Auckalnd Blues and Clermont Auvergne as well as the key influences on his coaching philosophy.

Joe outlined some key principles and strategies for developing self belief in both his players and coaching/support staff.

Relating to many examples within Leinster, Joe articulated with great humour some of his experiences and gave a number of insights into the New Zealand provincial system and how coaching young players shaped his overall philosophy on the game.

Ireland head coach Declan Kidney delivered a detailed presentation on the build-up and Irish team performances in the summer tour of New Zealand. Performance analysis with videos were presented and discussed, with the attendees posing probing questions afterwards.

Declan highlighted the key challenges facing the Irish team in the short term but also Irish rugby development in the long term if the next Rugby World Cup and indeed the return tour to New Zealand are to be more successful.

The last presenter was the Italian Federation technical director Franco Ascione.

Franco presented a detailed technical session on ‘Coaching Effective General Movement’. Franco is well known within Irish Coach Development having presented regularly to National Coaching courses and Technical Staff Workshops in the last few years.

Dealing with the principles of ‘General Movement’, the characteristics required of players and effective process required of coaches, he reinforced the fact that the majority of ‘ball in play’ time is utilised not in set piece play but in general movement, and this was the ‘reality of the game’.