Ackermann: Honesty the best policy
Tue, 08 Apr 2014 14:51
Know if I am not happy
Lions coach Johan Ackermann's policy is not to mince words or make excuses but to let players know where they stand.
The Lions boss was candid about his side's poor execution in their 7-28 loss to the Crusaders, explaining that their performance was what had let them down and there were no excuses to be sought.
Much has been made in this year's tournament of the number of coaches who look elsewhere in justifying their losses, blaming referees and looking for clarity in the law.
Ackermann believes however that there is no point in laying blame externally or questioning a bye's influence, he rather wants players to be introspective of their performance and realise how it influenced the outcome for the team on the day.
"I believe not just treating them like adults but they must also know if I am not happy.
"They must know if they didn't perform, regardless of what we can make excuses from, the bye week or this and that - it just wasn't good enough," Ackermann told this website in an interview.
Ackermann believes his team let themselves down in the smaller parts of their play, the things that usually get them over the line.
The Lions' lack of intensity was evident over the weekend and this is what the coach has picked up on.
"The things that let us down were the small aspects that we are normally good at, we lacked intensity, we lacked the small little details.
"I was just so disappointed, I thought after we had been refreshed up that we would be good in those small little things," he added.
Ackermann, even in his playing days, was always the hard-man, direct and straight forward. He has carried this over into his coaching and believes that being frank with his players can only benefit them looking ahead.
"I think they need to know; when I was a player all I wanted was honesty and then we know exactly what the coach wants and where we would stand with the coach," Ackermann said.
"They must know if they didn't do the small little things right; there is no use in just keeping it to yourself - obviously it is a team effort that wasn't good enough and even some individuals, but you cant blame it on one guy on himself.
"The whole team must take responsibility and they must go back and see what they did individually for the game."
The coach's approach is one that will benefit the players he has. A young squad such as at the Lions needs to learn from their mistakes and cannot do so if they are never told they did badly.
"It was a bit of a disappointment but I think with a young group it is a learning experience, the one thing they have learnt is that you cannot just ride on what you have done, you have to come out firing in every game," he added.
The Lions next face the table-topping Sharks at home and will be buoyed by the return to fitness of experienced flank Derick Minnie.
However, the coach is not quite ready to throw Minnie in the deep-end after such a lengthy lay-off.
"He [Derick Minnie] was out for quite a while I think, six weeks, so we have to maybe ease him back, but he is a kind of player with a lot of experience so he is bracketed - we will see where we fit him in," Ackermann said.
Wing Courtnall Skosan is another player that may be ready in time for the Sharks showdown as he recovers from a mild concussion.
"Courtnall Skosan is on a return to sports program for his concussion, so we will make a final decision on Thursday, we are giving him as much time as possible," the coach added.
Another returning player for the Lions is Alwyn Hollenbach who has a chance to make it onto the bench.
"Alwyn [Hollenbach] is back, Alwyn had a few good games so we might consider him, it's between him and JW Jonker for the bench - so we maybe bring Alwyn back into the squad," Ackermann concluded.
By Darryn Pollock
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