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Junior Rugby Coaching: Pedigree

Updated: Dec 10, 2018

"Do you have to be a Great Rugby Player to be a Good Coach?"

As a rugby player, my list of accomplishments are little compared to some of the other coaches in the club. I was never the fastest, biggest nor most talented to which I never got past 1st team rugby or the Cobra Blacks squad. (OK, maybe 1 time I got called up to 1st team). It does raise doubts within yourself but my brother pointed out to me one name, “Eddie Jones”.


Thinking about it further; Alex Ferguson and Juergen Klopp (Football), Greg Popovich and Steve Kerr (NBA). What’s telling is that these guys were not the best on their teams. They had some measure of success but never world class players that you build a team on. As coaches however, they have achieved a great deal of success.

“What is Good Pedigree?”


As a rugby player, my definition would be the level of training, exposure and accomplishment gained from rugby. If you studied at schools with rugby heritage like Penang Free School, King Edward or MCKK (Malay College Kuala Kangsar), you are almost rugby royalty. SSTMI (Sekolah Sukan Tunku Mahkota Ismail) is one of the newer institutions that has risen up to establish itself as “pedigree-able”. If you made State level rugby or Super league level would be a good benchmark. Some consider making a team that has links with a foreign club as good pedigree. Player pedigree or Coaching pedigree?


It’s been thrown to me that you need to have played at a high level to be considered proven and to have an opinion on what it takes to be a good coach.



“We are all on an equal footing, I may have the most rugby experience but in the end, it’s a team effort.”

Miran, My former co-coach of U10, now coach of U6, also my younger brother.

Definitely the more accomplished rugby player in our family, he highlights to me that his fellow coaches also has a lot to contribute despite a lack of “pedigree”. My fellow coaches may not have the same rugby experience as me but they do not lack in the values of good rugby, good sportsmanship nor lacking in competitive thirst and a desire to succeed.


In fact, it can be a good thing as it brings fresh perspectives to the game. For example, skills in basketball teaches you the value of limited space, multi-directional awareness and quick hands! Coach Cherian is a Competitive Dragon Boat Racer, with that comes intense focus, repetition and perseverance. Different Coaches, Different Skill Sets and Specialties.


Whatever pedigree you have or had as a player, I believe there is good value in it. However, I do believe it takes more than just having pedigree to be a good coach.

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