Schoolboy rugby coaches are feeling the pressure like never before and some of them buckling under that pressure.
Pro style coaches make up a good percentage of the total head coach / director of rugby compliment these days.
Unlike school teachers, they are often on fixed term contracts, usually in the region of just 3-years in length. Job security is far from guaranteed.
A lot of schools harp on about educational benefit but when push comes to shove, its the results on the scoreboard that often speak loudest, given the money being spent on the coaches and the players, the direct link made to marketing the school for future enrollment etc.
During contract renewal negotiations / termination meetings, even rankings sometimes matter.
Add to the increased exposure schoolboy rugby now enjoys via live-streaming broadcasts and the coach of a team that is under-performing is feeling the heat like never before.
So when factors outside their control, like perceived refereeing errors, result in losses, one can understand where the frustration is coming from, as at the end of the day, the “mistakes” have the potential to negatively influence livelihoods or even marketability for future employment elsewhere.
The pressures of being a schoolboy rugby coach cannot be compared to that a senior professional counterpart but to deny that there is huge pressure would be foolish. There are unique circumstances that make job of coaching schoolboys challenging.
Those coaches with shorter fuses are finding increasingly difficult to remain composed.
This past Saturday marked the second known instance this season where a 1st XV coach of a well-known school had to be asked by the referee basically remove himself from the side of the field to a place out of confrontational distance.
The question is, is this part of the evolution of a sport that is increasingly challenging the boundaries of where it belongs in the educational framework or is there a strong case to suggest that adults who cannot keep it together and maintain a reasonable standard of respectability, have no place serving in a capacity where they are responsible for moulding youngsters?