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Are You a “Rugby MRI Coach”?

Lately I have been giving some thought to the different types of coaches that exist.

The contributors to team performance and player development has grown substantially in numbers over the years. Some examples are :

  • Physios
  • Sports scientists
  • Medics
  • Sports psychologists
  • Attack Coaches
  • Defense Coaches
  • Scrum / Lineout / Kicking Coaches
  • Performance analysts, etc.

I’m sure I’ve missed others.

I’ve been fortunate to meet some coaches who I consider to be “Rugby-MRI-Coaches”. What I mean by this is that they see the picture instinctively – whether its large or small.

The Technical, tactical, physical, and mental elements of team, unit and individual performance are instinctively assessed by these coaches. They see what others don’t.

What is interesting is that it’s not only the top coaches who have this analytic ability.

I’ve met some MRI coaches at junior clubs all over the world. They love coaching. Many don’t have clipboards or need video replays. Once it’s scanned it’s in the MRI coaching machine that they’ve become.

These coaches are great to work with because they are in every play and ahead of most. They see potential all the time – in every practice.

I often ask coaches who are watching my practices, tell me where you would take it now.

I asked a top world coach once. “When is the best time to talk to a player?”

He said: “After training when I jog past him and make a comment.” So the top coaches don’t always know the answers.

I’m really looking forward to coaching and maybe meeting some MRI coaches when I return to Europe and England in March/April.

Mike Penistone


About Mike Penistone

Mike has coached at all levels of the game, from under-7's through to elite international players at the highest level, in both the northern and southern hemispheres. A few notable positions include serving as Head Coach for Great Britain Students (Rugby League), Head Coach at Nottingham RUFC and Head of Elite Player Development at Leicester Tigers Academy. Mike also served as the U21's Coach at the NSW Warratahs and Director of Coaching at Eastern Suburbs Sydney. He continues to coach across the globe running his consultancy. Check out his website: here. View all posts by Mike Penistone

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