‘I will never forget the first day my session got torn to shreds. That was the start of that learning process’

RENOWNED COACHING SPECIALIST Dr Ed Coughlan is the latest expert of the field to sit in the hotseat alongside host Shane Keegan on How To Win At Dominoes.

Coughlan, who has previously worked with teams including the Mayo footballers and Dublin hurlers, is a Skills Acquisition Specialist and lectures in the Munster Technological University.

He recalls how receiving constructive criticism helped develop and shape his approach to carrying out coaching sessions. 

“I will never forget the first day my coaching session got torn to shreds. I was really fortunate in the person who did it, they did it in a very respectful way, which is what I still do today.

“You’re not going to get someone to listen to you if you rip them apart. And that was probably the start of that learning process. Like, ‘Wow, that really hurts what you’re saying to me but yet, I’m still intrigued. I haven’t ran away and I haven’t kicked you in the balls’ and it was because of how they did it.

“It was a real sense of, ‘I really feel like you’re for me even though you’re shredding me.’”

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Coughlan goes on to discuss how meeting Rick Shuttleworth in 2005 evolved his skillset even further. Shuttleworth also works in the area of skill acquisition and high performance coaching, and has linked up with elite coaches around the world inculding Eddie Jones.

“That took it to another level altogether,” says Coughlan.

“The way he used to look at some of my sessions and discuss things afterwards and took me in a different direction all over again. It was like, ‘Oh my word.’ And again, some dark days from a coaching perspective. There were days I was going into a session having done some work with Rick and thinking, ‘I do not know my head from my foot. I don’t know where I’m going here. Everything I thought was right, is actually left and everything I thought was up was actually down.’

“That was the brilliance of him. He just stayed the course and was like, ‘Hang on, it’s alright. It’s ok for you to be freaked out because the players that go out on the pitch are a bit [freaked out].’

“You like it all ordered from your point of view, but then you’ll tell them, ‘Just play what’s in front of you.’ But you give them so much order and structure and control and then tell them to play what’s in front of them. It’s skewed and I’m like, ‘Oh my God, I’ve been mix-signalling them all the time.”

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