MAKING the move from a part-time coaching environment to a full-time one can be a daunting prospect for any coach, but inheriting a Castleford Tigers that struggled consistently in 2023 has made it even more interesting for Craig Lingard.
Lingard was appointed as head coach of the West Yorkshire side after being with the club for most of last season as assistant to Andy Last.
Though the 46-year-old continued coaching Batley Bulldogs – with whom he took to the 1895 Cup Final in 2023 – he still did his duties at Castleford.
After taking the reins full-time at The Jungle, however, Lingard has insisted that it has been an easy transition to make.
“It’s been pretty easy to be fair, when I was part-time I was working too. So, in that respect, I’ve got more time on my hands to do the work I need to being full-time as opposed to part-time. It’s been a smooth transition for me, it’s been quite easy,” Lingard told League Express.
“It helps with being there last year and knowing what the days were like and how they were structured so I could work out how I wanted my days to look and what the loads and impacts were going to be on the players.
“In terms of being able to adapt to a full-time environment, it’s been really easy.”
Lingard has been able to count on new assistant coach Danny McGuire in a new-look coaching staff – and the former is very happy with the latter’s contribution so far.
“Danny has been outstanding, he’s been really good. He complements me for what I wanted and needed. He quite openly said he wanted to more of the balls, whistles and cones coaching because that’s where he saw his strengths at that time.
“Obviously, he wants to be a head coach in the future but at the moment he is enjoying that on-field coaching with the players with the technical and tactical side of it. It’s something I particularly needed out of my assistant coach.
“The knowledge he has got and the experience he has had at Hull KR has been first class and you can see with some of the stuff he has been doing with the edges.
“He has been having a look at the attacking and defensive shapes on the short side, it’s been a really good thing for us.”
Lingard also has Scott Murrell as assistant coach.
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