Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Coaching evolution

This Autumn I was just helping out the England senior kickers. The work with the new players (new to me) was fascinating, since last working with England back in 2005 - I have dramatically changed the way I coach players - so they can manage their own learning given that things happen during a game (no matter how hard you practice - you will have one of those days!) and its vital that you can dig yourself out of the hole without missing touch, when intended or shots at goal. The brief period of time confirmed to me that the changes I have made to my coaching are definitely a move in the right direction.

With Jonny Wilkinson out of the Squad injured the main focus was Toby Flood and Charlie Hodgson as principle kickers and the back three players in including Ben Foden, Dylan Armitage and Mark Cueto. Al the players responded magnificently to a completely different way of developing kicking skills. Principally all the learning was on the move - i.e. no static kicking at all (other than restarts) and a massive emphasis on 'repair sessions' which meant they were kicking kicks that they wouldn't during a game but were used as means to an end - not an end in themselves.

Constantly working on the repair has resulted in all the players making massive improvements on their non preferred foot, the back three players out of hand and the principle kickers out of hand and drop goals. I hope they will be able to continue what was really a small beginning - so they will be able to take England's kicking game to another level.

I have also been involved in coaching the West Coast Eagles (Australian Rules) and England's Performance Squad (Cricket). Two fantastic opportunities for me to get better.

Dave Alred.   

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Dave is back!!!

It was good to watch the England rugby team produce such a strong performance against Italy this weekend. From a personal perspective, I particularly enjoyed seeing Dave back among the England coaches! He was sat to the left of Martin Johnson. What Dave lacks in height, he makes up for in sun tan!

He has been out of the England frame for a while now (although Jonny Wilkinson continued to work with him) exploring other sporting arenas and applying the fruit of his Phd. His research into 'performing under pressure' and his diverse coaching portfolio adds value to his insights into contexts which require performance under pressure.

Originally Dave coached Jon Webb and Stuart Barnes. He then worked closely with Rob Andrew and went with England to the World Cup in 1995. He was part of the coaching staff for the squad who eventually won the World Cup in 2003 but was 'cleared out' under Andy Robinson's reign as head coach.

I think he will make a valuable contribution as he joins up with the current England coaching team. His research and experience would surely be a helpful addition to any team who want to get better at what they do.