“There is no such thing as perfection” said Steve Hansen, coach of the All Blacks, the ‘best sports team in the world’. “But that doesn’t mean you stop striving for it.”
These deceptively simple words capture what most might aspire to in their own work related performances and they should be the aim in pitching.
The next pitch should be better than the last but for a number of reasons this is often not the case
The All Blacks only have one thing on their minds, rugby. Their lives are consumed by the striving for perfection. Most teams who pitch do so infrequently and their lives are taken up, if not consumed, by the daily demands of their work. Pitches are an interruption. They can, and should be, exciting, challenging even exhilarating but an ‘interruption’ nevertheless.
This means that they do not, as the All Blacks most certainly do, carry out a forensic post mortem after every pitch, win or lose. If they win then everything ‘must have been perfect’ and euphoria takes over from valuable self criticism.
If they lose, they may blame it on bad luck or ‘stitch-up’ or console themselves with having come ‘second’. They generally do not review in detail to see what was good, what was not so good and what could they do next time.
One thing is certain. Steve Hansen and his team will have worked out why they let England get so close to them. And how they will be even better next time.