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    Joe Schmidt.

    Found this over on Babbling Brook, make of it what you will. Post attributed to OTT.

    I got sent this earlier today by a friend who had in turn got sent it off one of his friends. There is nothing in it that is breaking a confidence and there is nothing in it which reveals anything tactically or otherwise, Joe Schmidt is far to clever an operator for anything like that. It is just a refreshing read which reinforces a lot of the reasons why it is easy to get behind a team which is coached by this man. If you have a couple of minutes I think it would be worth a read. Some of you may have already read it and apologies if it is up here somewhere already (I believe the talk was at some club night that he was guest speaker).





    Said he has no tolerance for people not working as hard as they can
    He places a big emphasis on KPIs (key performance indicators)

    He referred to the New Zealand game and that the head of refs confirmed to him that Owens made an error over the last NZ penalty, but said that even after that we made 7 system errors (for example wrong body shape in the tackle) and that really frustrated him as it can be the difference between turning the ball over or at least stopping the yards being gained.

    He says he likes/needs to keep the lads entertained, and one of the odder games they've had was not celebrating for scoring trys. Rationale being that they're paid to score trys, and a postman doesn't celebrate when he delivers a letter! Initially brought it into training and then quickly extended into matches. But the lads had great fun when a lad celebrated scoring a try as he'd be doing laps for the rest of the training match while everyone else got on with playing the game.
    He also mentioned that any chat at all to him when he was reffing a training game (e.g. "that was a knock-on", or "he celebrated") resulted in immediate removal from the game for the offender and the starting of laps! Discipline absolutely key. And his motto was if you can't be disciplined in training how could you expect to be disciplined on the field of play.

    Schmidt did say that the one time he overlooked the try celebrations was when Mike Ross scored his one and only try. "He never even scored a try as a kid, so I was happy to let that one pass"!

    He mentioned that he was very proud of the fact that Leinster won the fair play award 2 out of 3 years he was there. And it was an after-match citing and ban for one player late in the season (the third season I think he said, but not 100% sure) that cost the 3/3.

    They have a system of internal fines/penalties for misdemeanours, where the players impose penalties on each other for indiscretions, however small. Once a week they all gather to dish out the punishments. Reddin is the administrator and calls out all the offenders. They roll a massive dice, and whatever number they roll decides the punishment. He says the players think the worst one is a €250 fine, and they go crazy with excitement whenever someone gets this - shows they're really a bunch of big kids. The other one they hate getting is "Suits for 2 weeks", i.e. every day for training they have to arrive in a suit/shirt/tie, and after training they have to put the suit/shirt/tie back on
    He was asked does he feel under massive pressure for the team to perform well in the 6 Nations. He said not really as that's his job, but the one thing maybe they do fear is the victimisation that can sometimes happen after a poor performance /result.

    He said that coming up to a game, regardless of what went on the previous weekend or during the early part of the week, everything he says to the players on a Thursday and Friday is positive.

    He mentioned one instance where they'd suffered a defeat, put in a poor performance and got a hammering in the press, and had another big game the following weekend, and morale was as low as he'd seen it. He said Leo came up with an idea, or basically an order, where every player was assigned a player they had to send a text too. It had to be a positive text, about something the recipient does really well. Schmidt said he was unsure about the idea, but that it worked wonders. The following day morale was back to high, and they put in a powerhouse performance that weekend.

    He said after a Saturday game, the players would come in on Sunday morning at about 10am for any medical treatments, massages, general loosening up, etc. Usually 2 or 3 of them would take it in come into his office for a chat about a particular incident in the game, and he feels its one of his jobs to know exactly what they are talking about, no matter when the incident happened during the game. He said between the end of the game and the Sunday morning chats, he will have spent 6 hours reviewing the video of the game, going though every incident in fine detail. So a player knows that he can have a proper conversation with him about any incident and he'll be able to answer it. (Typically it'd be a player asking did he make the right decision with that kick or pass or similar).
    He says he doesn't pay much attention to what is said in the media and respects everyone's right to have an opinion, and their right to have the completely wrong opinion! He said one that sticks out was Hook's comments after his fourth match in charge of Leinster, when they'd lost for the 3rd time. Hook said he'd clearly lost the dressing room and that basically he should pack it in. "This despite the fact that not only was he never in the dressing room, but he hadnt even spoken to one individual in the dressing room". He said the following morning, Dric and Leo came in together to see him in his office. They said to completely ignore Hook or any other criticism, that they had 100% faith in what he was trying to do and that all the lads felt the same. They told him not to change anything regarding his approach and that they truly believed it would all come together. He said that while the pressure was on, he'd never felt as good. He was still a newbie with the team, but having these two giants of men on his side he knew it would come right. That weekend they played Munster, and Drico scored a late try to win the match, and the team never looked back.

    #2
    He was asked about the difference between the performance v the Aussies and the All Blacks. He said the difference wasn't as big as it might have looked. A lot of the KPIs were better in the Aussie game and they actually made less system errors, but there were 4 incidents which completely changed the game. In the first half we were in a really strong position until Sexton's injury. The timing of it ruined a great attacking opportunity. He also said he hobbled off in the wrong direction which cost us (can't say I understood that). He also mentioned a Healy incident in the 1st half that was a turning point. But even after that we were well in the game at half time. Then in the 2nd half two poor errors were made and capitalised on by the Aussies and it was game over. He said any of the positive stuff from the Aussie game seemed to be completely ignored in the media. He mentioned Fergus McFadden had a superb game on the wing and made 5 clean line breaks, which is rare in top level international rugby.

    He did say the players were gutted afterwards and there was a monumental effort to make sure no stone was unturned in their efforts to beat the All Blacks.
    Moved on again to talking about his perfectionism, and that if he sees an error in training, he will always stop to make sure the player understands what went wrong. He lets nothing go. Training is usually televised and he does look over the tapes and if he sees something that was missed at the time, he will call the players out about it. (Interestingly, afterwards there was a lot of talk from those supposedly in the know that some of the Munster guys, and O'Connell in particular, are struggling a bit to get used to his methods, in how pedantic he is about pulling people up over even seemingly minor errors).

    A question came from the audience by a chap who said he was from Tipp and a big Munster fan, and that when he played it was often left to him to give the pre-match talk and it was usually kicking tables and swearing, so how did Joe manage to keep his pre match chats different/interesting and not just repeating what he said last week. Joe started off by saying unlike in Munster, we don't actually swear in Leinster. "But now that I've a few Munster lads I'm coaching I've had to learn the swear words so they can understand me!"

    He said he usually leaves the pre match teamtalks to the players. All his work will have been done by then, though he may issue a few reminders to players on an individual basis.

    He said everyone knows about Sexton's half time speech in the Northampton Heineken Cup final, but Heaslip also made a very impassioned short speech. He said it was 20 or 22 or 24 words long. Can't remember exactly what was said but knows it was an even number of words, because every second word was the same!

    Someone else asked whether he thinks great leaders like Drico are born or made, nature or nurture. He said he's pretty sure most of it is developed / learned through experience. He said from what he's heard about Drico from before his time, that there was a wild side to him and he wasn't the best leader. But he matured, got his priorities right and turned himself into a great leader.
    He mentioned that one of the small things he copied from his Clermont days is shaking hands when you meet someone for the first time that day. He said its something the players really took to. He said Jamie in particular is a big fan, and goes out of his way to shake hand with young academy lads he sees which gives them a huge lift. Schmidt said that when he's had chats with the young lads, a good few of them have said to him how a Jamie hand shake really gives them a huge boost and gives them such a strong feeling of belonging to the group - so little things can have a big impact.

    Someone then asked a question about New Zealanders being so mentally tough, they seem to be born that way, when critical moments arrive in matches they always step up to the plate, always mentally strong, always make the right decisions. How the day before the Ireland-NZ game, in the rugby league world cup semi the Kiwis got a last gasp win against England, and then of course the last gasp win by the All Blacks against us. And did Joe agree that New Zealanders just have that mental edge over everyone else?

    Joe replied that he thought that was a load of rubbish! England made a horrendous mistake at the end of their match. Sure, the Kiwis took advantage, but without that error the Kiwis were beaten.

    With our game he said obviously Jonny's miss was a big moment. He said Jonny was sure it was over as it left his boot, and the feeling a kicker has at that moment is right 95% of the time. This time it didnt go over, and these things happen. But if it had, it wouldnt have mattered how psychologically strong the All Blacks were, they were beaten. Not that he believes they are mentally stronger. He said late on Cruden hit a terrible kick from his own 22 that showed clear signs of panic. Handed possession right back to us and gave us the chance to kill the game. But then he talked about the crucial late penalty given to New Zealand. He said he had a good long chat with the referee assessor, and he agreed completely that there were two clear penalty infringements by New Zealand players in the moments before Ireland were penalised. If Owens had picked up either of those, as he should have, then Ireland had the game won, and nobody would have been talking about New Zealand's supposed amazing mental strength.

    Joe then talked about stuff he read about the All Blacks in 2007 versus 2011. That in 2007 they were supposed to be the best team in the world but they let the pressure get to them once again in the World Cup and bottled it. But that in 2011, being at home and post the earthquake there was no way they were going to let this one go, and mentally/physically and every other way there was no way they would be beaten. "So the story goes" he said.
    "But its utter ballix"! (the only swear word he used during his talk)

    He said the main reason they lost v France in 2007 was Wayne Barnes. Far too young and inexperienced a ref to receive such a game, it was a disgraceful decision to give him the game and he gave a horrible performance. NZ had 70% possession and couldnt get a penalty. All the big decisions went France's way. And the crucial try had "a clear and obvious forward pass".

    Again in the 2011 final it was the referee who decided the outcome of the game. He said Joubert is a super ref, probably the best around, but he had a very bad day. He said New Zealand cheated throughout the game and got clean away with it. He said he's talked to some of the players since then and they said they could hardly believe it as it was happening. Schmidt said in his opinion, the All Blacks completely bottled it in the 2nd half of the final, they were awful, but because of Joubert they got away with it.

    At the end of the day he said, its the old story, "Whoever wins the war writes the history" regardless of what the actual facts are.

    He briefly mentioned Seanie as it has just been announced he was signing for Leinster. He said nearly all the stuff in the papers was made up. Seanie's agent must have been applauding every paper. But as far as he was concerned he was never going to Toulon.

    He finished up by saying his perception of the Irish lads is that they are mentally tough. He has no doubt they are a very resilient bunch. He said the one area he will admit to being behind the likes of New Zealand is quality of the bench. He listed off the guys who came on as sub against us and said they'd start for pretty much every other team in the world. He said where he wants to get to with Ireland is to have a squad of 30 to 35 players, where one can replace another seamlessly, without any weakness to the overall team.

    Comment


      #3
      Great read. Really liking what im hearing from the irish camp so far.
      The only difference between me and a madman is that I'm not mad.
      - Salvador Dali (1904-1989)

      Comment


        #4
        Thats Zebos international career over
        My computer thinks I'm gay
        What's the difference anyway
        When all the people do all day
        Is stare into a phone

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by sewa View Post
          Thats Zebos international career over
          Ya. While he does sound super professional etc . . .he also sounds like the most serious man in Ireland.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Corcíoch View Post
            Ya. While he does sound super professional etc . . .he also sounds like the most serious man in Ireland.
            You'd know he was a schoolteacher alright.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by TomsOnTheRoof View Post
              You'd know he was a schoolteacher alright.

              . . .and of German descent!!!!!

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by sewa View Post
                Thats Zebos international career over
                Alternatively if he works as hard as Joe expects he could become one of the very best players in the world and not just very good. Marry Trimbles work rate with Zebo's ability and you'd have a special player.

                Refreshing to be honest. We are not used to that level of scrutiny I would imagine and no doubt it is probably hard to take at times but it seems he's trying to make a real culture change within the set-up.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Reads like Irish camp could be a step up from provincial camps, he's establishing a kind of upper echelons environment so the national team seems bigger and more important.

                  I wish the man well and I hope that he gets to 30-35 fellas of similar excellence. The KPI's sound like they'd take getting used to but in lots of ways its a good way to analyse how to play the game. Bit like a golfer trusting his swing, if you're comfotable with the process and what you've to do in that process you needn't rely on emotive elements to get the job done. Those emotive elements mightnt stymy you in pressure situations either.

                  no celebrating tries, positive texts and shaking hands are all about mutual respect and a fascinating insight.

                  Nice to hear him promoting charities on the radio as well. Fingers crossed he can get this country some slverware.
                  I am the million man.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by sewa View Post
                    Thats Zebos international career over
                    He'd have no problem with fitness anyway because he'd be doing laps from now till doomsday!

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by sewa View Post
                      Thats Zebos international career over
                      My thoughts exactly. However, some people can rise to such a challenge and clearly average Leinster players have become exceptional Ireland players.

                      Maybe Zebo could rise to it. But his temperament is so different to Schmidt you'd have to fear for him.
                      Munster – Champions of Europe 2006, 2008, 2019.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Those notes are from coaching course Joe did about a month ago in Dublin. Very interesting

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Corcíoch View Post
                          . . .and of German descent!!!!!
                          Yes a very Germanic name Josef 'Joe' Schmidt

                          What are his German connections if any ?

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I wonder what Joe had to say to the couple of hundred national school teachers he was talking to there recently in Leinster.
                            Gwan Joe!!

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Jesus I'd say Roy Keane would be creaming himself reading about that level of attention to detail!!
                              "Everything good about Ireland can be found in County Cork"....Lonely Planet Guide 2012

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