Monday 20 January 2020

Coach's Insight - Building the best of your abilities

Pat Lam has transformed Connacht to a team that tackles low, chopping attackers to the ground. Picture credit: Ray Ryan / SPORTSFILE
Pat Lam has transformed Connacht to a team that tackles low, chopping attackers to the ground. Picture credit: Ray Ryan / SPORTSFILE

Eamonn Molloy

In the professional game the final touches are being put to squads with some last-minute transfers and the focus turns to how these players will now perform in their new surroundings.

Much of this comes down to the coaches' ability to best utilise the skill-set of his players - what are they best at, and how can I put them in a position to do that more effectively or more often? This planning is an essential part of coaching with all adult and youth teams.

Spectators will be familiar with the sight of Johnny Sexton repeatedly looping around his centres for both Leinster and Ireland. As a ploy it does not outsmart defences, but it does put your best playmaker in a wider position where he could release his full-back or wing with one well-timed pass.

Schalk Brits regularly breaks from the Saracens defensive line to make a big hit and turnover opportunity; this is not a privilege that is afforded to every player, but given his success rate the coaches give him the freedom to do so.

Likewise Pat Lam transformed Connacht to a team that tackles low, chopping attackers to the ground. This provided Jake Heenan and Willie Faloon countless turnover opportunities that were not present when Connacht had tackled high to choke the ball in the past.

Connacht have scored highest in the off-season transfers, so it will be interesting to see what plays are devised specifically for Bundee Aki and Mils Muliaina, to ensure they get the best from the players around them.

Irish Independent

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