“THIS IS NOT A DEMOCRACY” – How To Establish An Athlete Centered Coaching Philosophy

andy plimerCoach Andy Plimer (The Rugby Coach’s Corner Podcast) makes his first appearance on The Hard To Kill Podcast and we chat about how to establish and athlete centered coaching philosophy. His decades of coaching and teaching experience not only make him an excellent coach but a great human being to chat with.

[maxbutton id=”1″ url=”https://link.chtbl.com/andyplimer” ]

Creator and host of The Rugby Coach’s Corner Podcast, Andy has held the title of the most popular and most downloaded podcast for rugby coaches on the planet. Having interviewed the likes of Dr. Kelly Starrett (World Renowned Athletic Therapist), Eddie Jones (England Head Coach) and Michael Cheika (Former Australia Head Coach). It’s thanks to Andy that I got started in podcasting, many moons ago.

Coaching and leading are the same. Whether it’s a rugby team or section of warfighters, the principles remain the same and Andy’s insights into team building are not to be missed.

In today’s episode find out:

  • Andy’s biggest cringeworthy coaching moment (15:55);
  • How Andy gets team buy in (19:33);
  • All about his new EVOLVE coaching program for rugby coaches (45:00)

Autocracy vs. Democracy

I, by no means am a rugby aficionado. I only come alive when it’s Rugby World Cup season and it’s time to bet on who’s going to win. I just love winning the pool strictly based on my cultural biases towards certain teams and taking the piss out of Aussies like Andy.

Andy brought up some great insights into his coaching career. Having coached high school to Canada U-20 at the national level, he’s consistently gotten better at the craft. He attributes this to a few things but one of the most important was and still is, reading.

Early on in his coaching career, Andy was player/coach and in a heated moment with one of his star players, said,

This Isn’t A Democracy

Andy remembers how dejected his player and friend looked after hearing this comment and it forced him to reflect. He knew he needed to change his methods and therefore sought out help through literature. rugby coach's corner

Hit The Books

The book, Any Given Team by Ray McLean, was particularly important to him since it made him realize he was doing nothing that the book recommended. The book itself was written after studying an Australian Air Force unit and how their leadership dynamics lead to mission successes.

Having seen Andy’s coaching style in action numerous times while coaching my own teams at the same high school we used to work at, Andy always impressed me with this note taking and his ability to set up a team system. His teams were always well disciplined and knew what they were “supposed” to do at practice and on game days. The buy in from his teams was tremendous and he outlines a few key things that allow this to happen on the pod.

This is very similar to military units.

Lead Like A Coach

The best ones have tremendous buy in, not strict top down control. That’s the misconception about the military for non-military folks. Most civilians assume that orders are barked down the chain with a litany of fucks and then off the section goes with no questions asked. In reality, a mature unit has lots of questions and the leadership leans on their troops heavily for insights and support.

My best experience of this was on tour in Afghanistan while working with the 1-71 Cavalry of the 10th Mountain Division. Each patrol order was created by the platoon commanders and then we would have a big sit down chat before the mission and hash out any concerns before we took off. Lives were on the line so no concern was too small.

It worked.

Andy is now looking to leverage all the knowledge he’s acquired from his years of interviewing the best names in rugby into a new video course for rugby coaches. His EVOLVE coaching program is set to launch in September of 2021. Be sure to link up with him on Twitter @rugbycoachscnr

Check out his podcast at: https://rugbycoachscorner.podomatic.com/

[maxbutton id=”1″ url=”https://link.chtbl.com/andyplimer” ]


Train Hard, Fight Easy


dave morrowDave is a retired infantry officer and Afghanistan war veteran. He’s the creator of the HRD2KILL training program that was built on the principles that got him from not being able to get out of bed to competing in the Crossfit Open, Spartan Races and the Montreal Gaelic Athletics Association. You can find more mobility based exercises in his new book, “The Nimble Warrior”, now available on Apple Books and Amazon or read his new HRD2KILL Blog




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>