by Nigel Melville
Nigel Melville Direct
I guess we should not be surprised when the new Eagles Men’s Sevens coach, Alex Magleby, the former Dartmouth coach, responded to a loss in the Tokyo Sevens Bowl final by sharing with the media a quote from Aristotle. He was less eloquent in his one word text to my cell phone – obviously he was adapting to his audience!
‘We are what we repeatedly do’ he reflected, putting a narrow loss down to simple mistakes that would have made the difference between a Bowl Final win and Bowl Final loss. Its the little things that make all the difference when analyzing rugby performance. A dropped ball, a missed tackle, a turnover, a poor pass, that’s what makes the sport of rugby sevens so intriguing, it is unforgiving, there is no time to make amends, you have to be accurate!
The Eagles now head back to the USA and their Training Center in San Diego to reflect on the last three weeks on the road. I know that morale is high in the squad, they are working hard and feel that they are making progress. Their results are encouraging, they have returned to the top 10 IRB ranked teams, but there’s still work to be done.
As they reflect, they should take a lead from their coach and read Aristotle’s quote in full, it holds the answer to the next few weeks practice sessions and the game as a whole.
‘We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit’.
As I have said many times before, rugby is a simple game. I always ask coaches to tell me the difference between a technique and a skill? They often find it hard to answer, but its the key to understanding why things go wrong sometimes. In short, a technique only becomes a skill when it can be performed under pressure. In the case of the Eagles, when they play the top teams, their skills are placed under massive pressure and they break down. So the answer is to make sure the players skills are underpinned by excellent technique then build up the pressure when they are training. Quality technique developed through repetition and put under increasing amounts of pressure. That’s also why playing against the All Blacks, Australia and England is good for the team as they develop their skills under pressure on the international stage.
Next stop Scotland (May 5-6), and an interesting pool including England, Australia and Kenya – Go Eagles!
With an impressive resume as player, coach and administrator, Nigel David Melville took over as CEO and President of Rugby Operations of USA Rugby, the National Governing Body of the sport in America, in 2006. In addition to his full time job promoting the sport in the U.S., Melville has launched his own blog, Nigel Melville Direct, to further the discussion and his passion for what it will take to make the U.S. a great rugby playing nation.
CLICK HERE to read more on Nigel Melville
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The NEW All Blacks 2013/14 jersey has arrived at World Rugby Shop. Dare to wear the colors of the All Blacks.