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Former England Rugby head coach Eddie Jones sitting in the stands.

Why do rugby coaches sit in the stands?

Last week an interesting question has reached us: Why do rugby coaches sit in the stands?

This indeed is an unusual practice that you don’t see in any other sports. There are coaches running up and down the sidelines in soccer, American football, hockey, basketball, and so on.

In rugby, however, the gaffer sits in the stands. Either in the press area or sometimes in a small glass box depending on the structure of the stadium.

Assistant coaches and performance analysts usually surround them, staring at laptops and trying to gather as much information as possible.

High-tech devices are used to record everything, from tactical on-field decisions to energy levels measured by fitness trackers.

But what is the idea behind this unorthodox habit?

Taking a seat makes more sense than standing on the sidelines for a number of reasons.

The main reason is the beneficial views you get when you sit in the stands.

From up high in the stadium, it’s possible to gather a panoramic 360-degree to see the game from a completely different perspective.

Due to the fast-paced nature of rugby, it’s useful to see the action from an angle other than usual.

While the different perspective is most important, some other theories explain the decision to sit in the stands.

Through the access of several screens, located in front of the coaches, they can access live TV feeds, including full replays. Based on this information, it’s easier to make tactical decisions.

Another advantage is privacy. Especially when the coaches sit in a protected area, surrounded by a glass box, they don’t get distracted.

How do rugby coaches communicate?

When you’re so far away from your players, you might wonder how you can communicate with them. The answer is rather simple.

The coaches have a headpiece that connects them with either a waterboy or sometimes another assistant coach who is located by the touchline.

This person receives all tactical and technical decisions and can then implement the order.

It’s not always the case though…

Interestingly, rugby coaches didn’t always sit in the stands. Before the invention of headsets and wireless communication coaches would be on the sidelines with their players screaming and shouting out instructions. Referees would often cop abuse from irate coaches who couldn’t accept certain decisions.

A French rugby coach is watching a rugby match from the sidelines.

Even to this day, some rugby coaches prefer the sideline to the coaching box. Standing on the sideline appears to be particularly popular with French coaches, maybe due to the influence of France’s strong football tradition.

A final thought…

Do rugby coaches, not being located on the sidelines, exude the same level of commitment and sense of responsibility as other sideline-dwelling coaches?

Take famous football coaches like Jose Mourinho or Diego Simone. Those two spent most of the 90 minutes running up and down the sidelines, shouting and gesticulating, demonstrating the complete opposite behaviour of a calm manager in the stands.

But is this more part of the “show” demonstrating to the crowd that they are almost representing a 12th player?

And is it even possible to make the right calls when you are emotionally involved that much in a game?

These are questions, that every coach from every sport might answer differently, but what’s certain is that rugby coaches definitely “care” about their team to the same degree as any good coach does.

It’s just turned out that watching the game from a different angle seemed to be more beneficial.

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#coaching #habits #perspective #stadium

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