Ronan O’Gara Offers Up Fascinating Insight Into Joe Schmidt’s Coaching Methods

Learning from the master.

Ronan O’Gara recently spent a week in Carton House as well as a week in the states with Ireland coaching alongside Joe Schmidt as they prepared for and took on the USA Eagles in New Jersey.

The Racing 92 coach absolutely loved his time with Ireland and today offered up a fascinating insight into what it’s look to learn from Joe Schmidt and experience him in action ahead of a Test game.

“I just wanted to see what this whole talk about Joe was in terms of everyone seems to have an opinion on him. I think it’s important you see him for an extended enough period of time and make a judgement on it then so it was fascinating.” O’Gara said.
“I’d heard a lot from previous players about detail and getting his message across. The biggest thing that struck me was his energy, his enthusiasm, he’s just unrelenting, you know?”

The former Munster and Ireland playmaker noted that he had a young squad to work with, given that a lot of players are away on Lions duty. For O’Gara, this made the experience all the more interesting and worthwhile.

“I think obviously too he has a young squad who are just mad keen to learn and so happy to be where they are, it’s completely different from a club set-up, like at Racing where we’ve a fair few fellas over 30.” O’Gara continued.
“In Ireland they were all young and inexperienced, mustard-keen. Joe just has everything prepped, everything organised, ‘this is how we’re going to play’, ‘this is how you need to do it in this situation’ and the message is so simple. It’s so simple, it all adds up, what he wants to do.”

For O’Gara, what impressed him the most how Schmidt kept reminding the players that they have a licence to play.

The biggest thing was three or four times every meeting, he says ‘you all have the licence to play’. That was really encouraging because I was fearful that these guys were going to turn into robots because everything has to be prescribed.” O’Gara added
“It was great that the video was stopped and it was ‘if there’s kick-space here you take it, Joey’, ‘if there’s kick-space here you take it’, ‘if it’s on to go, you take it’, ‘if you don’t execute right that’s a different story. If the idea is right I’ll back you’.
“They have I think the best of both worlds. They can play what is front of them but they also have their map as he calls it.”

A fascinating insight into one of the world’s very best coaches.

Ronan O’Gara was speaking today at the launch of the SoftCo Foundation at Dun Laoghaire Golf Club.

Jason Hennessy

Jason Hennessy

Jason is the editor at RugbyLAD. Any queries big or small you can reach him at [email protected]
Jason Hennessy

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