Could the England Rugby Coach Catapult your Cricket Club into a Glorious Future? | Cricket coaching, fitness and tips

Could the England Rugby Coach Catapult your Cricket Club into a Glorious Future?

In the last few weeks I have worked alongside England Rugby's Head Coach, Stuart Lancaster. Stuart has turned the fortunes of the England Rugby team round since he took the post in 2012.

What can we learn as cricket coaches from his story of success?

The main focus areas in his first years in the job have been lessons that can be easily transferred to a cricket club:

  1. to make robust decisions about the age profile of his squad.
  2. to establish a strong environment that allows them to develop at an accelerated rate.

When Stuart spoke of these two things, it took me straight back to my time as Somerset CCC Head coach.

In 2004 I inherited an ageing squad that was past it's peak and - with the help of Director of Cricket, Brian Rose - we made robust decisions concerning a number of the senior players. This allowed the young and talented Academy players early exposure into 1st Class Cricket.

These decisions are tough.

You are dealing with good players and excellent people. Telling someone that you are leaving them out of a side or that you are not renewing their contract is never fun, yet the long term vision for your sporting organisation is always bigger and more important than any individual.

Stuart cut a number of senior players from the England set up, chose youth and embarked on building a environment that would allow his young charges to grow.

5 cricket lessons from rugby

Stuart told me that he loves the way that the present squad operate as they do the following 5 things:

  1. They love playing for each other and enjoy each other's successes, even if it means your mate is taking your spot in the team or some of your limelight.
  2. They love playing for their country. This has been underpinned by regular visits from England Rugby greats who come and talk of their experiences and what playing for your country means to them.
  3. The group enjoy learning from other sports and sporting greats. Double Ashes winning captain, Andrew Strauss was with the squad recently and the players gleamed as much info from Straussy as they could.
  4. "Never die wondering": This is one of Stuarts mantras. It's disappointing to lose, yes. But it's worse to lose when you haven't given yourself every chance of winning. Play positive rugby, always. Make positive decisions, always.
  5. Respect your audience, connect with them at every opportunity. It would be safe to say that England Rugby, pre-Lancaster, had lost it's connection with its supporters. With the 2015 World Cup being in England, it was crucial to project the right messages, play positive rugby and make the supporters proud again. The Twickenham crowd is now the "16th man" of the team.

Is there anything above that can help you develop your club or teams culture?

Will the "Lancaster-way" underpin your clubs future development?

This England Rugby squads age profile suggests that they will begin to peak around 2016/17 yet with the core to their environment so strong and their coach being so inspirational who would bet against them at the 2015 Rugby World Cup?

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