RLCM Q. How important is the mental aspect of players in achieving performance?
Brian Smith A. At least as important as the physical, everybody has their bit about the game 20% physical and 80% mental, I don't know if there is any secret formula.
For different players and different teams and probably with each player it varies from time to time. You can't possibly be strong mentally in this particular game unless you are physically equipped as well, and that is what's great about our game - you need to be good at so many things.
You need to be strong, you need to be fast and you need good endurance and flexibility. You can be all of these things and not be worth a crumpet unless you have got your head together so it's a very important thing. It is very difficult for a coach to try to be everything.
Anybody who thinks he is, is kidding himself, he can't be everything to everybody. With some players you might be better off not to interfere too much with the way they think or the way they prepare themselves, you can confuse them.
Some players just like to be left alone for their own preparation, some players need help. Again it is part of the art (or science) of having "that feel" for what the player needs. But, because a player may have always been on his own in the past doesn't mean that he will always be like that.
From time to time he may have a little crisis with his form or his family or whatever and you may need to help him a little.
Q.What is your opinion of game plans and patterns
- should they be kept simple?
- do players need some full game direction?
- how much time do you spend on tactics and developing these for particular
A. We spend a lot of time on tactics because we believe it is part of the education process of players to teach them how to cope with as many situations as possible that arise in a game of footy. You can never do that completely because something different comes along every week, which is what is great about the game.
I don't think there is any sort of secret about keeping things simple or any particular game plan or pattern process that works because every game is an individual commodity in itself. The fact that it worked well for a coach with a particular team doesn't necessarily mean it is going to work well for him in another club, and another part of the world.
Quite often you may lose one or two players through injury and that can alter the way the team needs to play. So you need to be, in my opinion, a coach who is very adjustable in his planning and tactical development, dependant upon the players that he has.....