Talent alone is not enough, experience can lift a player’s performance to another level - Baber

Talent alone is not enough, experience can lift a player’s performance to another level - Baber

By Mosese Raqio
Tuesday 02/04/2024
[Image: Fiji Rugby]

Talent alone is not enough and you really got to understand that from a coaching perspective of how you can blend that.

This was highlighted by the National Program Manager for Fiji 7s, Gareth Baber during the fijivillage Straight Talk with Vijay Narayan after being asked about the importance of selecting a team.

Baber says in another analogy, a coach is like a conductor or an orchestra, where they are actually not playing any instrument but are trying to pull people into that position time and time again to give them the exposure that they need in order to develop.

He says part of the challenge is to navigate, plan and strategize around how the coaches can introduce the young players into that environment.

He adds the challenge with inexperience is that it hasn’t been honed or it’s not at a stage where they could understand and experience that pressure, fatigue and stress but the only way they are going to get there is by experiencing it.

Baber says this can also bite them as a coach, and he has experienced that, as it has bitten him all throughout his career because all he wanted to do was to give each individual every opportunity to do that.

Baber shared his experience back in 2017 when they went to the Hong Kong 7s and there was a young man called Mesulame Kunavula who was only 19 to 20-years-old at that time and he recalled visiting Kunavula’s family in Sigatoka to acknowledge them for their sacrifice on the life of Kunavula that has enabled him to get that far in being selected into the Fiji Airways Men’s National 7s squad.

He says Kunavula went on to be a great 7s player and is now playing professional rugby abroad.

He further says as a coach, he did not know how Kunavula was going to perform and he could have got it wrong and that is how coaches gamble with selecting their players.

When asked about the inclusion of Vatemo Ravouvou into the Fiji 7s squad for the upcoming Hong Kong 7s, Baber says Ravouvou and Jerry Tuwai have a huge amount of experience as does Osea Kolinisau.

He says as players get older, it is hard for them to get to that level of fitness required for 7s but what experience can do for a player is lift their performance up to another level.

Baber says whether those players get to that point that they can play in an Olympics, they don’t necessarily know that some things have been made about Tuwai proving his fitness level.

He says of course Tuwai has to do that, but he has done some wonderful things for Fiji but ultimately there is a level of performance that we can see and understand that he has got to get to be able to make that experience count.

He says if Tuwai can not make that level, then the experience that he can impart and share with the younger players in 18 weeks could be the difference anyway.

Meanwhile, the Fiji Men’s 7s team will begin their Hong Kong 7s campaign against Australia at 9.30pm this Friday.

They will then take on Canada at 12.33am Saturday and play France at 5.43pm Saturday in their final pool match.

The Fijiana 7s side will play Australia at 4.25pm Friday in their first match, followed by their match against South Africa at 7.12pm Friday, and they will play Ireland at 3.02pm Saturday in their final pool match.

The Hong Kong 7s will be held from Friday to Sunday.

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