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The Overseas Coaches Debate Reopens...

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So another international tournament failure leads to a need for a new coach - and apparently the England players are keen for an overseas appointment (notwithstanding that some of them may not be selected after some of the performances.....)

All home nation rugby union teams are coached by overseas coaches and, on the whole are bringing success in results (England whitewashing Australia, Ireland competing against the Springboks and, despite being blown away by the All Blacks, i think Wales played well across their series) and an England Cricket team who are enjoyable to watch.

However, where does this leave our 'homegrown' coaches? Most of the England players within the Euro 16 squad are (or have been) coached by overseas coaches, and in a system where instant money apparently means instant success....and instant removal when it doesn't happen, there appears to be no time given to embed philosophies, change of playing styles and, crucially, player and skills development.

There is a counter argument to this is that foreign coaches seem to be having success - the top 8 teams are all coached by overseas coaches (and even those who have changed this summer have kept to this policy) with the first British coach in Mark Hughes at Stoke coming in in 9th place....is there a perception that British coaches are inferior, either from employers or the wider publics view...and it isn't just football where this is the case, with examples from both rugby codes.

This seems to be hampering the progress up the system of domestic coaches through the system. This quick failure system of coaches being removed from roles prevent any long term infratructure being developed - Look at Ferguson and Ancelotti - both would be deemed as failures today in the early part of their career but their generational change of clubs and players has been huge.

There is also the paradox around where our coaches coach abroad (or not as is often the case!) Being a Derby fan (don't bother with the jokes, I'm sure I have heard most of them before), when Paul Clement was appointed last summer, I was very positive. A few mixed results and performances gave way to unbeaten runs, and a climb to the top of the Championship....for whatever reasons, he as sacked in January.

When asked by a colleague of my thoughts early in the season, I commented, somewhat jokingly, he was 'too foreign' in his thinking for some people and players. There may have been an element of truth in my observation. I will be interested in seeing where his next solo coaching role comes next (more than likely after gaining plaudits with Ancelotti in Munich)

So where do we go? Are the foreign coaches making 'us coaches' better in our approach? Are they giving different solutions to the same questions?

Or as Brad Pitt said in Moneyball, we need to adapt or die...


Food for thought!


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Comments (4)

Foreign coaches appear to have a clearer vision of what is required in terms of team culture, attitudes, values and behaviours. However, Chris Coleman appears to have the ability to bond a team with good moral and clearly defined roles and responsibilities.
England football team have primarily a team culture problem with a secondary football problem. The spiritual and value systems are incorrect and one sees the manifestation of the disease of EGO. This tesults in lack of team cohesion and results. Funnily, enough, I think it erodes self belief and indeed my reflect self esteem issues. The way forward perhaps is through coaches adopting a valued driven holistic coaching approach from an early age at academy level. Pick coaches with good value systems, good emotional intelligence, good spiritual development and good educational background with a passion for development.

Please see abstract from Ken Hodge, university of Ottago, below. Worth reading and explains concept better.
This case study focused on the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team during the period from 2004 to 2011, when Graham Henry (head coach) and Wayne Smith (assistant coach) coached and managed the team. More speci cally, this case study examined the motivational climate created by this coaching group that culminated in winning the Rugby World Cup in 2011. In-depth interviews were completed with Henry and Smith in March 2012. A collaborative thematic content analysis revealed eight themes, regarding motivational issues and the motivational climate for the 2004–2011 All Blacks team: (i) critical turning point, (ii) exible and evolving, (iii) dual-management model, (iv) “Better People Make Better All Blacks,” (v) responsibility, (vi) leadership, (vii) expectation of excellence, and (viii) team cohesion. These ndings are discussed in light of autonomy-supportive coaching, emotionally intelligent coaching, and transformational leadership. Finally, practical recommendations are offered for coaches of elite sports teams.
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Thanks Val - I agree entirely with the 'culture' issue. Thanks for the info - same principles as described by James Kerr in Legacy.

My view is that we have more than capable coaches, but this can be undermined by systems and culture?

Would a 'good' coach be able to break this culture issue? Is too ingrained in the psyche of the sport?
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It is in my opinion all about process and its constituent components. First decision, what physical, psychological, attitudinal and behavioural characteristics, do you wish the developing player to acquire in addition to the obvious technical and tactical ones? What does your ideal English International football player look like? How do you take a children at at 4 years old and by the time they are finished the process ensure they have all these attributes. How do you coach character? How do you identify coaches who can? What coaching philosophy do you incorporate? How much implicit learning, problem based learning? How do you design and encorporate a clear moral and value system?
It all starts with a clear picture of your desired outcome. Are English players as team orientated as say German or indeed my classic team orientated players, the Japanese?
I surmise, that the old parental question of Did you score? highlights the group think in relation to team cultures.
Anyway, I could ramble on. The most important components are the players and the coaches.

P.S. Apologies for poor spelling in last post.
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As I challenge myself to be better this season than I was last season. The balance of my focus has been influenced by my analysis of the difference between Eddie Jones and Stuart Lancaster. Lancaster seemed to put a great importance on team values as does Jones. Jones made minior adjustments to team selection ......but what was added that made the transformation from a unsuccessful team to a successful team. I think that Jones brought a clearer and tighter vision of what players needed to do to be successful. Players need to be impressed by the learning experience as all adults are motivated by learning something new that will help them succeed today, tomorrow and the next day. Also I think Jones ability to analise what is happening, what needs to change and how to communicate that is something we culturally don't do as well as Southern Hemisphere rugby coaches. This applies to all the domains we operate in ........knowledge, skills, attitude and values
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