Incentives make us live the lives we lead. I often think about why it is people give up their time to play and coach rugby.
What are the incentives for them doing this? Is it to be sociable, to live a healthier lifestyle or is it to give back to the community?
I think primarily, people do it because they take enjoyment from the sport.
There are multiple aspects of enjoyment to be taken.
The enjoyment of the game itself, being around friends and/or the enjoyment of winning.
If winning is a motivator for you and that is a reason to keep your boots on then that’s okay.
But is this something that you’ll be able to keep up in five years time? I ask myself the same question.
We mustn’t forget that as well as the enjoyment gained from an end result, we must learn to enjoy the game itself – regardless of the outcome.
After all, “the fun in playing games arises chiefly from intrinsic enjoyment, not extrinsic incentives.”
Is it any wonder that a number of sports, including rugby, are showing a large percentage drop-off of players participating from the ages 16 to 24?
I feel that in some cases, amateur sports sides have become so focussed on winning, that every team takes another step forward in a professional manner, in an attempt to emulate living patterns and training regimes that only the elite athletes follow.
But if the team isn’t winning, is this dedication worthwhile?
Last Sunday, our under-14s and under-15s, under-16s and under-17s all took to the field and unfortunately lost out.
But what was comforting, was the smiles of our players during these fixtures and after them too.
Of course winning is always nice and losing can be disappointing, but to see that these young lads were all still taking some enjoyment from the sport, provided me with the confidence that the club is giving the youth of the community every ounce of enjoyment we can.
England Rugby’s core values are teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship.
They are what make the game special for those who enjoy the environment and culture they create.
They define the game and define England Rugby.
At Scarborough RUFC we buy into these values and believe they are what sets rugby apart from other sports.
Rugby for me, has to be about enjoyment.
If the players are happy and smiling, they’ll be keen to come back and progress in the sport.
For this reason, I’ll be placing a special emphasis on adopting sessions and coaching styles that make coming to this club an enjoyable experience for our players.
I put this ethos to the test earlier on this week.
The Valkyries had played very well on the weekend, beating tough opponents Morpeth.
The ladies have a few weeks off now before their next fixture, so I thought I would make training slightly different on Monday night.
I instead focussed on indoor team building exercises, fun childlike games and challenges.
The change in environment was a welcome one for the ladies, who thoroughly enjoyed the session.
It was clear to me during my reflection of this that even though these people take enjoyment from the sport, they still have tough times during it.
They may not be winning, their bodies may be aching and the weather may be terrible.
And these are some of the little challenges we come across along the way.
As a coach I feel it’s always important to give your team the positivity they need when morale seems to be lagging.
I know I respond well to this as a player and I’m sure coaches will see the benefit of this too.
Thanks for reading,