Olympics | SPORTS

It’s About Going To The Next Level, Cracknell Reveals

With their Olympic Games opener just days away, Team Fiji women’s rugby sevens head coach, Chris Cracknell spoke about their preparation, and changes he had seen in the players during
03 Aug 2016 11:51
It’s About Going To The Next Level, Cracknell Reveals
The Fiji women’s 7s side in Chile. Photo: Bruce Southwick/Zoom Fiji

With their Olympic Games opener just days away, Team Fiji women’s rugby sevens head coach, Chris Cracknell spoke about their preparation, and changes he had seen in the players during their last phase of training in Santiago, Chile.

Q: What are you thinking about– it will be a week and it will be finals day at the Olympics

CRACKNELL: Excited and I suppose little bit like Christmas, you just want to wake up and open your presents.

Personally the journey has been a hell of a quick one. I can’t believe that we were nine months down the track from October when I first took over the girls, and to be on the eve of the Olympics – less than a week and we will be well into the thick of it and it’s an amazing prospect that we are where we are.

I’m just excited really to see the girls perform and to see how they’ve trained this week is the best that they have ever trained and I hope that now it just kicks us into the tournament.

And we had talanoa and lotu the other night from Naca – he talked about the different levels of your brain and that seems to have transformed their vision and their behavioural pattern.

We talked about level three being the area we want to work at and you know that’s where the girls have been for the past two days.

It’s been a real noticeable difference in them and they seem to have now gone on to the next level.

Q: What has been the most surprising thing that you have seen rise through the girls, what has their bonding been like and their evolution as a squad?

CRACKNELL: I suppose their evolution as a squad their professionalism has been unfounded really since day one.

They realised that they needed to get themselves to a better place but it had taken time.

You know some girls still need, a clip around the ears every now and then to get themselves in line- but I suppose one of the biggest things I have noticed this week- we had a low post selection.

You know when everyone is rested a little bit just for a couple of days but that is inevitable really because they have been selected in the biggest thing that has ever happened in their lives to date in sports definitely.

And they have been kind of building, building, building and building.

We have had a couple of days when I don’t think they have been on the mental but the impressive thing with that is that they are not afraid– from the youngest to the most experienced in Rebecca Tavo.

They are picking each other up on things and they are realising that and grasping that because now they are going “oi you’re not getting the basics right, oi you’re not doing that right…oi you’re not doing your rehab properly and that as a coach is a good place to be.

From my learning as a player and now as a coach– when a group can control themselves and they are professionals among themselves and they are able to lead and drive themselves from within- they are in a good place.

As a coach, my job is to make sure that the pieces are bolted on. The girls have grasped that by themselves and it’s something that we have worked on all year, to try and empower the players as much as possible, because ultimately they are the ones that are running around on the field and not me– as much as I want to be out there with them.

They are the ones that have got to do the business on the pitch so to me to dictate to them the entire time which they will learn nothing so to see them come through has been the biggest gains we have got in the last couple of weeks.

Also over the years to see a shy, retiring group of girls who didn’t say boots were goose– to not picking each other up, to knocking on my door, to ask whether they were doing the right thing, to understand  that they need to go through recovery and taking themselves through recovery sessions– they have really hit this level over the last three weeks.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback:  leonec@fijisun.com.fj


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