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“The players loved it.” Former England Rugby Head Coach, Sir Clive Woodward, is talking about the culture of absolute professionalism which provided the bedrock for his 2003 World Cup winning side and is keen to point out that the adherence to the rules wasn’t leadership with a big stick, instead it was a collective agreement not to let anybody in the group down.


“We put a huge importance on pride in the group. I wanted to be seen as the most professional coach and I wanted the squad to be the most professional group of players – not just in rugby but in any sport.


“We were big on team culture and behaviour. It wasn’t through me telling them, it was a two way process. It was me saying what I thought, asking what they thought and getting their buy-in. It was a real pride in what we did. It was a pride in not letting anyone in the room down, because if we didn’t let anybody in the room down we wouldn’t let the country down."


Capturing knowledge


Helping coaches collect, review and communicate information to teammates and colleagues is at the very heart of Clive Woodward’s latest venture and he believes Captured – a new online platform for players and coaches – will revolutionise the coaching environment.


“We’ve built Captured with a single purpose – to enhance an individual’s performance. Following a proven methodology, Captured equips the user with the tools to turn information into understanding. This unique tool allows the user to capture, reflect, edit, and share information anywhere and at any time.


“We have embraced the philosophy that talent alone isn't enough to become a great footballer. Information and understanding represents the foundation to all successful players and we believe that the best athletes are those that know the most about their sport and as such arrive on game day more prepared than their opponents.


“A key characteristic of a champion coach is an unrivalled attitude towards learning. A champion coach will invest a significant amount of time capturing information and learning from it. They would capture everything because only then can they determine what went well and what can be improved. What’s more these coaches will involve the players in this process ensuring a common goal is met together. Coaching should not be limited to the training ground. Reproducing the right things consistently and learning from mistakes is central to sustainable success.


Woodward, who after the 2003 World Cup success has enjoyed roles as Head Coach of the British & Irish Lions as well as Team GB’s Director of Sport for London 2012, tasked his squad to be early for every part of their schedule, and to take responsibility for every aspect of their preparation.


“The players had a rucksack and we used to task them to come to meetings prepared – with a pen, paper, and even their own drinks. We used to say ‘we’re not doing your drinks for you, you arrive with your own drinks’.”


Punctuality and responsibility for hydration are aspects of a professional athlete's life that are easy to imagine, attending meetings with paper and pen is, however, a little different than some cultural norms.


“When I was with the England rugby squad we used a variety of tools to support our preparation – laptops, posters and paper files. Since then, technology has moved on. These advancements mean we can work with greater efficiency and precision. The captured business embraces this and brings the power of smart devices and cloud computing to my coaching process.


“What we’ve put in place is a really simplified way of capturing that detail. It’s all about making you a better coach and to help your team play better.”


A pilot project including 40 members of The FA Licensed Coaches’ Club is currently underway researching the different ways in which Captured can be utilised by football coaches. Those members involved in the pilot will gain access to a seminar held by Sir Clive outlining his coaching journey and individual approach followed by training on the software and access to the Captured online platform.


Learn more about Captured at capturedhq.com


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