While rugby like any competitive sport is certainly focused on the outcomes, the overall character of the game is also an essential element. Rugby pushes its players to achieve their own personal best and to strive to improve in any way that they can. In truth, when this premise is upheld the scoreboard inevitably reflects the amount of effort and pride that are being put into the game.
Players that a slagging off or phoning it in might still be able to experience the thrill of victory at the end of the game but will they also be able to enjoy that sense of fulfillment that comes from putting your best effort forward? Players can be left feeling discouraged and cheated even after they win if they are not going all out.
It is definitely in the hands of the coaches to point out lacklustre performances on the pitch and in the same token, they should be proud of a team that exerts to the highest ability and yet can’t secure the victory. While everyone certainly does want to win, frequently the best approach is to bang it out at your full capacity regardless of the end result. There is a sense of satisfaction knowing that you and your teammates really nailed in the play and that every time you stepped onto the pitch you were focused and intense.
It takes a great deal of training, planning and overall effort in the game to snatch that win and there is always room to improve in one capacity or another. The team’s environment is quite influential in establishing whether this is the norm or not. The encouragement of coaches and teammates is essential and the blame game can often result in a losing culture.
Creating a culture of belief is built through a concentrated effort which starts before the season even begins. Practice, camaraderie and a realistic outlook at areas that need work will help to create a team that can seem impossible to beat because together, they are a force unto themselves. If you ever get to be a part of a team like this, you will never forget it. It will extract from you your very best and when the time comes for you to move on, this the standard that will set the bar for you. Anything less will pale in comparison, leaving you wanting.
On these teams, you will demand as much of yourself as you do others and you will strive to deliver, being accountable for your own performance. When you don’t make the grade, your own disappointment will be the motivator to improve and you’ll practice and train that much harder. You’ll look forward to the next opportunity to prove yourself.
Winning should never be the ultimate outcome. While it can certainly be a goal, the greater purpose should be to strive toward your own personal best. Teams that simply just win do not inspire traits like loyalty as you are seldom left feeling attached to the other members. Playing hard whenever you are out on the field will not always result in the win but it will always result in a personal sense of achievement. Focusing on performance rather than at the numbers on the board will keep your head in the game as well and thus also improve your chance of winning.