Sep 23, 2020

Coaches Corner with Katleho Lynch

Interviewed by Shana Devitt with the assistance of Ofentse Moeng.

1.  Katleho tell us more about yourself – where were you born and educated?

I was born in Johannesburg in Katlehong. I was educated at Alberton High School and the University of Johannesburg.

2.  You are a proud family man – give us a little insight into your beautiful family

My wife is Jenna, my eldest is my daughter Hazel who is 7 and Cayleb my son who is 2 years old. They are by far my three biggest fans.

3.  In the last few years you have become a household name in schoolboy rugby in SA – where did it all start for you? Give us a summarized version on your journey in schoolboy rugby.

For me it started at Creston College in the South Coast I coached U11A’s in 2009. I played a little bit at UJ in 2010 and started coaching full time at St Benedict’s College thereafter for a number of years. I landed at Queen’s College for a short stint and lastly now find myself at St John’s College. Throughout that time I realized that I really wanted to become the best coach possible. I went through the pathway of coaching at provincial level at school and getting an opportunity to coach at a university level. From there I acquired massive knowledge on defence coaching and have specialized in it to a point where I have been asked to do a few podcasts on some top international rugby coaching platforms. When I started coaching in 2009 I always said to myself that I will do what I can and work as hard as possible to become a SA Schools Coach and this year I have been blessed and privileged to get that opportunity. That is short summary of how it has all happened for me.

4.  With all your experience gained over the years, what is the end goal?

I want to be a Springbok coach!

5.  Who in your view has had the biggest contribution towards your development as a coach? 

Two people:  Andre Tredoux who has been my mentor and walked the way with me for a number of years and Herman Masimla who has had the utmost belief in me.

6.  Name your top 3 local coaches you would love to work with now in the future.

Rassie Erasmus, Jacques Nienaber, and Phiwe Nomlomo. They are exceptional!

7.  Scenario – you are the Director of Rugby at a club. Your task is to put together your ideal management team using only school coaches … And go! – you may have as many specialist coaches as you deem necessary. 

The biggest thing to look at here is to find people that you trust. They first have to understand and buy into your vision as well as challenge when it is necessary as long as it is aligned to what the vision is. In forming that team I look at guys that are good people foremost and secondly they have to be the best in what they specialize in. The success of any rugby program first starts with your strength and conditioning. I would definitely have Miguel Caldeira from Queen’s College to run that program for me as the first person on my team, I rate him highly! Then you have to look at a manager, backs coach, forwards coach, attack coach, defence coaching, skills coach as well as someone to do the mental coaching. I do have few names in mind but it’s very tough to single out when there are so many top-quality coaches coming through our school system.

8.  You have recently been appointed Director of Rugby at St John’s College. What does the role entail?

It entails running rugby coaching programs for all age groups, ensuring there is gym education happening, upskilling of coaches on a continuous basis and formulating long-lasting friendships and memories. Our focus as a club is just to be good people on the field and off it which is slowly taking off. I also have the responsibility of doing coaching sessions for the pre-prep and prep school.

9.  How do you manage to juggle between family, school and all your other commitments ie. UJ, Provincial and National duties?

It’s simple a planned wife is a happy husband. No really it’s important to have a diary that’s linked to your phone that really keeps you on time and prompt for all gatherings. The biggest thing is that when you have the time off use it to invest it into your family.

10.  Will you be playing a role in the Lions Schools Structures this year – if we get to go ahead?

I was a part of the Border set up last year and only relocated back to Joburg this year so I am not involved for this season.

11.  Congratulations on your recent selection as SA Schools ‘A’ assistant coach. What does that mean to you and what advice can you share with any other coaches looking at one day being in your shoes? 

Thank you so much. Firstly get a mentor-get someone who will tell you where you are growing as well as someone who will be honest with you when you are losing track- get someone who will encourage you as well as be honest with you in terms of growth, not someone who is just going to tell you what you want to hear. It’s important that you keep investing in your craft, keep learning about the game from all sources. Don’t get ahead of yourself and have an ego. Be inquisitive for knowledge. Ensure that you work on yourself as a human as well as upskilling yourself technically because those are the best coaches the ones that can relate to players on the human perspective as well as make them better technically. It is not a race it is a career, be patient on your journey to what you want to achieve. Lastly, I am a big believer in this saying: The universe invests in those who invest in themselves. Go and get it!

12.  Your view on transformation in SA thus far? There is an old saying that friends made from rugby are friends for life … can you shed some light – is the competitive rugby industry a platform to make genuine friendships? Do you have any personal experiences?

Transformation: We are definitely on track regarding that. Coaches as well as players are coming through the ranks and are performing at the highest level with distinction. We need to see it as an opportunity to grow the game and provide opportunities when the time is right. Transform people as well as transform the game.

I have made my best friends through rugby. It is possible to make genuine friendships that will last a lifetime.

13.  How have you been keeping busy during lockdown?

I have been spending some time with the family, planning, reading and listening to the odd podcast.