Brian Ashton puts beans up his nose!

I’m astounded by this comment from Brian Ashton in response to England’s loss to Wales.

“We said at half-time ‘don’t feed them the ball’ and we fed them big-time. You don’t just throw the ball around like that in international rugby.” (BBC)

It shows a complete lack of understanding of simple psychology and how to put constructive thoughts in a player’s brain. Of course they “fed them the ball”! You just told them too!

Imagine you have just cooked a plate of baked beans for your young son/daughter. You walk into the dining room and put the plate on the table. As you do it you tell them, “don’t put those beans up your nose”. What will they do? They’ll put the beans up their nose of course, you’ve just put the idea into their head. They had no intention of putting the beans up their nose until you effectively told them to. 

“Don’t be nervous” were Bernard Laporte’s famous last words to his team as they walked out to face England at Twickenham in the Six Nations in 2003. France played nervously and lost.

How many times do you hear football managers say at halftime we talked about “not letting them make a good start in the second half/get the next goal. And they did.” Of course, you painted a picture in the players’ brains and they went out and delivered.

As soon as you start the sentence with “don’t” you’re heading into trouble. It is going to be a negative thought or a negative instruction. What you should have said Mr Ashton was, “hold on to the ball” or “protect the ball” or “keep the ball in hand”. Simple, positive visualisations of what you wanted them to do.

I can’t believe that the coach of the England rugby team, with all that money and all those professional backroom staff, hasn’t worked this out, or been told what to do.

You’re putting beans up their noses Mr Ashton.



  1. 1 Brian Ashton read my blog! « The displaced Kiwi

    […] Scotland I don’t believe it! Having told Brian Ashton what to say at halftime here <link> and again here <link> he goes and does it […]

  2. 2 Ron Dennis misses a trick « The displaced Kiwi

    […] Brian Ashton’s half time talks and “beans up your nose”. One of them is here <link>. No Comments Leave a Commenttrackback addressThere was an error with your comment, please […]

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