These thoughts are to help and inspire people like you and me to reach higher and strive for greater things, to stand for a cause more noble than self serving, seeing the good in others and seeking it for their sake. I unashamedly weave my faith, biblical insight and life experiences into a sporting context to illustrate my personal journey to this point - I hope in a small way, I can help you on your journey to being all you were intended to be....

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Saturday, 30 June 2012

Holding things together

Binding is the essential connection of two or more players in a rugby union game for the purpose of adding weight, momentum or drive in a set play. How we connect to each other and hold things together, can be the difference between winning and just falling short.

The most critical use of binding - locking onto another player - is in the scrum. The scrum is one of the ways of resetting play following an infringement. The eight forwards from each team lock together to create a single unit and vie for the ball, which is fed into the scrum between the two sets of players. The combined power of 8 players pushing in one direction can be impressive - however, there are times when the scrum breaks up or collapses, which is unsightly and potentially very dangerous from a player safety perspective.
There are very specific rules about binding in the scrum, which if breached aside from the safety angle will result in players being penalised, possession being lost and the potential for points to be conceded.

Inevitably in a highly charged competitive environment, teams and players will seek to gain advantage and will push the boundaries. The scrum is no exception, particularly in the front row - which is front line contact with the opposition. Often described as a dark art, serious scrummagers will try to turn, twist or bore into their opponents to gain advantage. Turning an opponents arm under his shoulder will result in an incorrect pushing position and could force him upwards or misdirect the shove coming from behind him. At its worse, players will twist a player down until the scrum collapses - this is both illegal and extremely dangerous. But enough of the negative aspects. Its fair to say that there are those that would try to undermine - but usually, it's because the fear being out-scrummaged and out-played.

By contrast, with the correct binding, the integrity of the scrum is retained as a unit and....if you bind together,  you stay together, you work together and you gain ground together.

Binding is also very important to the formation of a maul. That is when a player is held up in a tackle and is unable to go to ground. Other players moving into the play from an onside position may bind onto their player or players to gain momentum and drive the play forward.

So, binding together with another player:
  • creates the basis of a team play
  • ensures you are actually in play and in the game
  • puts you at the heart of the game rather than the fringes
  • ensures you're not isolated in an exposed position
  • adds momentum to a set play
  • adds momentum that can drive play forward
  • creates an opportunity to cross the gain line and take ground
Quite a list from simply connecting onto another player properly and for a purpose.

The bible has several insights into the way we connect with others for purpose. It records simply: two are better than one. Who wouldn't concede that battling through on your own can be a lonely place sometimes. Paraphrasing the man's man Jesus Christ, he invited his followers to "bind yourself onto me and learn from my strategic approach to life - when you link to my strength and experience, its not all about the hard life syndrome, we can make it together". Paul, the great thinker, writer and follower of the man's man added that unity of approach to a task, service or living out life itself would ensure completion with purpose and momentum if we could bind together, (just like the scrum), with the bonds of peace or one mind.

Binding together is the connection that drives momentum in teams, relationships, businesses and in the service of others. It's the basis of team work that takes ground and makes things happen. It seems such a simple thing to talk about in the context of a game - how you are connected to another player - but where it becomes second nature, it can be the basis of victory. How and who are we connecting to?