Why are we afraid of “Chaos.” A blog by Jack Pattinson

Delighted to publish a blog from one of my colleagues who is enjoying his current coaching journey……..
Why are we afraid of ‘chaos’?
It is a question I am always asking coaches and it is a challenge I faced when I started my coaching journey. For many of us, we spend lots of our (precious) time designing highly-complex and highly-sophisticated session plans, which in our minds, look great.
We have pictures in our heads of how the session should look. Of how the players should respond and react. And in which direction the session should go.
But what happens when things don’t go to plan? Our session doesn’t run as we had so carefully planned? Our players don’t problem solve in the way that we imagined? And our session is taking an alternative path?
Brian Ashton (former England Head Coach, 2006-2008) famously once said: “Rugby is a game of organised chaos”, but more often than not – and particularly as coaches, we are afraid of seeing chaos in our sessions. But why?
Are we afraid that those watching (parents, injured players and support coaches) will judge us if our sessions don’t look nice? Are we afraid that our sessions will look out of control? And are we afraid that as a result of this, our players are not having fun?
More often than not, we worry how we will be judged and perceived by our peers. Subsequently, a lot of coaches decide to intervene and change the game or the skill zone. They don’t allow players the freedom to self-organise, adapt and subsequently, problem solve.
Believe me, it can be difficult to give the players instructions on how the game will be played and then take a back-seat to see how they respond, but my challenge to you as coaches is to remain silent for a good 4-5 minutes and observe how the players discover solutions – no matter how chaotic this may look! From this, you can ask the players what the challenges are and what solutions we may need before restarting the game and seeing how they respond.
My one bit of advice (which I am sure I have stolen from another coach) is that next time your game or skill zones seem chaotic… Relax. Embrace it.



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