The purpose of this paper is to share a successful high performance coach’s approach to practicing unstructured aspects of team play to enhance team performance. The approach was implemented by Jim Mckay (attack coach) during the Queensland Red’s Super Rugby 2010–2013 campaigns. For team sports such as Rugby union, coaches need to assist players in developing their decision-making and execution under unpredictable and chaotic match conditions by scheduling a high proportion of playing form activities related to unstructured possession sources (e.g., response to turnover possession). This paper is organized into three sections. The first section provides an overview of relevant literature on coach-led practice sessions and dynamics system theory. This is followed by the Queensland Reds case study that outlines the data they analysed, the process and implementation of new practices and coach Mckay’s reflections. The final section provides suggestions for team sport coaches wanting to practice the unstructured aspects of team play.
Jim Mckay and Donna O’Connor
Jamie Araya, Andrew Bennie and Donna O’Connor
The purpose of this study was to enrich our understanding of formal coach education settings. We investigated how coaches developed knowledge during a postgraduate tertiary coach education course. We also explored coaches’ perceptions of changes they made to their coaching attitudes, behaviours, skills, and practices as a result of their studies. Semistructured interviews1 were conducted with 17 performance coaches. Results revealed that coaches developed knowledge through rich learning situations that were relevant to their coaching context. Furthermore, the three types of knowledge (professional, interpersonal and intrapersonal; Côté & Gilbert, 2009) were fostered in an environment that was socially constructed through a Community of Practice. Coaches felt they were better equipped to develop athlete performance as a result of the knowledge gained through the course. The findings reinforce the importance of developing formal coach education that is learner-centred, provides diverse learning experiences, and embraces informal learning concepts when embedded in formal learning contexts.
Melissa J. Crowe, Donna M. O’Connor and Joann E. Lukins
This study aimed to investigate the effects of 6 wk oral supplementation of ß-hydroxy- ß-methylbutyrate (HMB) and HMB combined with creatine monohy-drate (HMBCr) on indices of health in highly trained athletes. Elite, male rugby league players (n = 28) were allocated to 1 of 3 groups: a control group (n = 6), a HMB group (3 g/d; n = 11), or a HMBCr group (3 g/day HMB, 3 g/d Cr; n = 11). Testing prior to, and immediately following, supplementation included a full blood count, plasma testosterone and cortisol, blood electrolytes, lipids, urea and glucose, sperm count and motility, and assessment of psychological state. A 3 X 2 factorial ANOVA revealed no effect of HMB or HMBCr on any of the measured parameters except minor changes in blood bicarbonate and blood monocyte and lymphocyte counts. Blood bicarbonate was significantly decreased in the HMB post-supplementation sample compared to the control and HMBCr groups. Blood monocyte and lymphocyte counts showed no within-group changes for HMB or HMBCr supplementation but were significantly different from the control. However, the majority of these readings remained within normal range. HMB and HMBCr were concluded to have no adverse effects on the parameters evaluated in this study when taken orally by highly trained male athletes over a 6-wk period.