Psych for Rugby Union

It is important to remember that the psych involved in rugby is
certainly no substitute for active and physical training sessions.
The psych in rugby does not begin in the change rooms thirty minutes prior to the game, with
the coach telling his players to go out there and destroy the opposition. Rugby psych is much
more complex than this and perhaps a coach can go through the entire season thinking that
he never got his players to reach their full potential and to play as a unit.
Rugby is a team game with 15 players plus reserves, therefore to have a team function at the
best of their ability week in and week out it is important for the coach to have more than just
a good technical knowledge about the game.
During a season the rugby coach experiences many different identities. The coach is a
teacher, trainer, psychologist, disciplinarian, friend, planner, motivator, student,
communicator and the list goes on. Because of the many coaching identities it is of vital
importance that the coach has a good, open and honest relationship with his players. The
essence of this relationship and perhaps a very successful season is built on respect for each
The psychology of any sport or competitor is extremely complex and for the game of rugby
which is complex in itself makes matters even more difficult for the coach.
The following topics covered in this paper will provide the coach with numerous ideas and
essential information required to have players reach their potential and work to achieve a
desired outcome.
“Rugby, when analysed as an athletic task is highly complex. It is an open skill sport based
on action and reaction, demanding adjustments to ever changing external conditions. Its
numerous single tasks require complex motor skills, sometimes with maximum power, speed
and endurance while at other times, subtle, fine motor co-ordination, rhythm are of the
essence.”---- (Dr Ian Lynagh)