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Coaches look beyond 'hairdryer'

Retired England internationals Graham Rowntree and Mike Catt still remember an era when the 'hairdryer treatment' was the only motivational tool in a coach's locker.

Times have changed, however, and fear alone fails to incite the modern professional. Instead, a more nuanced approach is required.

As members of England's current coaching team, Rowntree and Catt know only selective use of the technique made famous by Sir Alex Ferguson will provoke the desired response.

"I've worked with plenty of guys and all they've known is the hairdryer. It's like a dog barking - after a while you stop listening to it," Rowntree said.

"You have to have it in your locker to pull out a nuclear bomb when needed.

"We have a good craic and you have to enjoy the environment, but sometimes players can get too comfortable, so they need a cattle prod.

"But that's a good dilemma to have rather than picking people up the whole time because they're in the doldrums."

Catt agrees that the psyche of the current player needs careful navigating and on the occasions when a tongue-lashing is required, Rowntree is the best man to administer it.

"A lot of coaching comes down to man-management," Catt said.

"Ten or 12 years ago you still had coaches and managers screaming and shouting at you and they'd get a reaction from that.

"Now you have to man-manage people in a completely different way. Kids don't like being shouted at any more.

"There are different ways of getting the best out of them, but they do need to be shouted at every now and again.

"Some of them you have to put your arm around, some you can b****** ....in which case you send them across to Graham!

"There are ways to manage the individual to get the best out of them.

"That's the difference compared to a few years ago with guys like Jack Rowell, Clive Woodward."

Rowntree and Catt outlined their views on coaching during a 20-minute Q&A at Twickenham on Tuesday.

Rugby's trailblazers are New Zealand, but Catt believes England are beginning to make their rivals take notice during the two years of progress made under head coach Stuart Lancaster.

"You want to be innovators rather than followers," Catt said.

"Everybody has tried to emulate what New Zealand have done, especially from an attacking point of view

"But I'd like to think that some of the stuff we're doing is different to what the rest of the world is doing.

"It has taken time to develop and it will take longer to perfect, but it's different.

"It's all there for people to see because of the amount of analysis that goes on. Other teams know exactly what we're doing."

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