Updated: May 30
The race to peak performance for the 2022 World Cup in New Zealand is on and given the longer than anticipated break away from each other due to COVID restrictions, coaches of Rugby Australia have been creating new stimulus in camp with Reflection MatchPlay Cards to check and challenge learning.
Handing them out to players before and after training sessions, at meals, or in team meetings, Wallaroos Head Coach Dwayne Nestor and his staff are using Reflection MatchPlay Cards to stimulate meaningful conversations and interactions within the group to capture learning and support future decisions.
"These provide reflective questions for individuals or groups around a multitude of topics that relate to anything from how mentally positive the player is going into the session to thinking of a super hero trait that they would like" - Dwayne Nestor, Wallaroos Head Coach
Promoting players to take an active role in their reflection rather than telling them directly takes players to a learning space of higher clarity and trust, installing a belief and commitment to the learning process.
On a constant hunt to learn more about each other, themselves and their game ahead of September's 2022 World Cup in Aukland, the use of stimulus to generate meaningful reflection amongst players and staff will put the group in a strong position going into a blockbuster group with the five-time champions, New Zeland plus Wales.
"The girls are loving them!" - Dwayne Nestor, Wallaroos Head Coach
Reflection empowers athletes to press pause and rewind their experiences to support their future decisions, helping coaches to gather feedback and gain an insight into the minds of athletes individually and collectively.
"We can learn so much and make it interesting if we are aware of the need for different training and thinking stimulus, and we balance out the monotonous, repetitive essential work with some fun and maybe quirky learning formats," shared Dwyane
Speaking on a recent webinar with High-Performance coaches from Australia Gymnastics, Dwayne shared the impact of Reflection MatchPlay Cards on his programme "It created conversation amongst the girls but it also created a thought process within individuals, I would allow the girls time to self reflect before asking them their thoughts. The good thing about that was it creates a conversation between me and the player"
"We broke in the middle of an activity and it was an opportunity for the girls to problem-solve what had happened in that first block do training... "Set two team missions for the next period of play based on your current performance" created really a really good reaction and conversation."
"It's not me or the assistant coach asking the questioning, it's the card. It brings a different attitude to how they go about answering the card."
Developed to encourage players to dive into their experiences and grow confident self-aware players, Reflection MatchPlay Cards are supporting coaches to create countless opportunities for learning. Let us tell you something... Reflection MatchPlay Cards were even designed in yellow because we truly believe reflection to be the golden ticket to learning!