Culture defines who we are, how we act and what we value; within the Warriors a major element of our success is our team culture and how this empowers players to perform at ever higher levels. In order to understand our development as players, and how we meet the challenges of ever increasing levels of competition. Our culture is based around three principles; 1. Better people make better players, 2. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable, and 3. Players lead, coaches support.
BETTER PEOPLE MAKE BETTER PLAYERS
The most winning professional Rugby team of all time, the All Blacks of New Zealand have a key principle in their selection of players… its called the “No Dickheads Rule”; they believe that by ensuring they only select good people, can they result in a good team culture and dynamic; a position shared by the Warriors.
We expect our players to be self starters, willing to learn and ready to work hard to achieve their goals and the collective goals of the team. We will work with players who struggle with these areas and will seek to show them by example how they can best contribute to the team.
GET COMFORTABLE WITH BEING UNCOMFORTABLE
The weight of expectation can dramatically effect the performance of a player; it is important from the outset to have them fully understand that this expectation is not a pressure point, but rather an opportunity. Gilbert Enoka the All Blacks mental skills coach often talks about the need to “EMBRACE EXPECTATION”, to be willing to accept challenges and to see them as a positive element and not a negative element; this can feel very uncomfortable for many players, who are often fearful of facing discomfort and mentally avoid it.
Every player knows the feeling of anticipation ahead of a big game; be it a sleepless night before, or a nervous morning leading up to the game… these are all natural and positive feelings if approached the correct way or they can be destructive and debilitating if we approach them fearfully. By learning to embrace this feeling and feed off the energy and focus it provides us, we create the conditions to motivate ourselves even more. Taking a positive view, and embracing these feelings allows us to adopt a mental approach which believes that only through “FACING EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES PROVIDES THE OPPORTUNITY TO ACHIEVE EXCEPTIONAL SUCCESS“
A player who has never played a game at a highly competitive level never knows just how he/she will react; are they fast enough, are they skillful enough, are they too small, are they too weak… all these negative questions reside in the head of a young player when they front up to a big game… they fear what they do not know. Only by challenging ourselves to perform at that higher level do we begin to understand WE CAN perform at this level, and WE WILL succeed; until then we don’t really know. At the very outset of developing our mental strength and resilience we must have the inherent will to actively seek higher, tougher and more difficult challenges; and we must see this as an opportunity, not a threat.
The Warriors culture seeks to provide our players and staff with constantly evolving challenges, at ever higher levels of performance. For all the trophies in the cabinet we are not satisfied with just winning, our motivation comes from finding newer, harder and more challenging opponents and seeking those rare opportunities to challenge ourselves a ever higher levels of Rugby. We actively seek EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES because we value EXCEPTIONAL SUCCESS; we don’t simply play to win, we want people to remember HOW we played and be inspired to emulate this themselves.
PLAYER LED, COACH SUPPORTED
The Warriors understand that when the time comes for the team to perform, the role of the coaches is mostly complete; there is an expectation that the players will have done the homework to understand their competition, they will have worked hard in practice to prepare themselves for what they want to achieve in the game, and they own the on the field results. When the players cross the white lines, the role of the Coach becomes to monitor tactical level events and player health/Volume, execute the replacement strategy in accordance with the game plan and ensure that players receive necessary intelligence they may not notice themselves…. none of this requires the Coaches to enter the field of play, nor to shout at the players at any time.
It is the responsibility of the players, and their leadership unit to manage the game and deliver on the agreed results/game plan. Without this clear responsibility the ownership of decision, action or activity will be confused and it is important to reinforce the role of the player in decision making and leadership; not the Coach. The Warriors work hard to develop thinking players, who understand that they have the power to make on field decisions and that they will be supported for this by the Coaching staff…. not critiqued or shouted at.