Answered by Mike Penistone
I think it would be fair to say that not all players are good communicators. Some players just like to play and are quiet away from the sport and in normal life.
However there are times during the game when it is advantageous to communicate effectively.
Listening skills are as important as communication skills. Players should be concentrating at all times to ensure they hear what is being said.
Communication means talk don’t scream. Controlled talk doesn’t spread panic.
Ensuring what you say is received by the person you are directing it to, is best achieved through eye contact. Look at who you are talking to.
To encourage positive talk, design fast action practices, with small numbers, with more attackers than defenders. So that what is said can lead to a positive outcome? Talk from outside to in, if you see an overlap opportunity.
Nominate different players to do the talking in practices.
Build up a glossary of agreed words and sayings, such as, press, push hard, I’ve got inside, my man; that all players are used to hearing, especially when under pressure.
Use trigger words to stimulate greater effort from the team. Action man might be the trigger word for a lift in intensity at the tackle contest.
Design practices for forwards and backs separately. Communication between backs and forwards can be quite different. Close quarter communication, small talk, under pressure can be hard to decipher, so ask the players at certain times, what was said, who said it? Consider when’s a good time to talk? 3 meters from the lineout, during a stoppage for injury?
Keep talk short.
Last point…I know a coach who once had a player do a running commentary on the practice he was involved in……………..
“Now I’m moving towards the breakdown, balls won, realigning now, where’s my support, pass it now, stay with me, come short, rip off him”.etc.
Try it, if nothing else it will be fun to listen to…