Want to learn more about getting a rugby coaching qualification? Read on…

Student Coaches before the practical sessions at HMS Temeraire.

Prospective coaches from local clubs (United Services Portsmouth, Portsmouth, Gosport and Fareham and Heathens), RNRU, local schools and universities met at HMS Temeraire on three full consecutive Sundays to enhance their coaching skills under course leader and RFU Coach Educator, Nick Parker.

Having completed the mandatory pre-course tasks which comprised online courses, namely World Rugby (formerly IRB) Rugby Ready assessment and laws test, as well as a concussion education course which the RFU affectionately calls ‘Headcase’; the representatives were informed that the onus would be on them as the learner to demonstrate their understanding. The student coaches were also expected to take ownership of the game management processes, and prove their delivery methods and tactical and technical knowledge of the game.

As part of the course the learners also had homework to complete! Asked to plan a number of coaching periods focussing on the scrum and lineout and attacking play from these set pieces, the learners delivered a practical session on the 3G pitch at Temeraire. Defensive patterns were also examined with the emphasis on how the student coach could bring them into small sided games (SSG) with limited contact (mostly touch) which allowed some of the older participants to be fully involved.

A lot of emphasis was placed, quite rightly, on the development of the individual. As the player progresses through the age groups, the focus is upon their personal and social progress in addition to their physical, tactical and technical development and it is the coach’s responsibility to develop these factors so that players can execute core skills, make decisions under pressure and play with confidence and creativity.

James McAvoy, PE and History teacher at St. John’s, Portsmouth, when asked what he took from the course replied, “The RFU Level 2 course allowed me to focus on engaging players through small sided games which grow understanding as well as developing my coaching processes. Overall, an enjoyable and useful step for rugby coaches who work with any age group.”

Part of the coaching education work force was Sharon Evans, Hampshire Community Rugby Coach and the Royal Navy’s Rugby Development Officer, Ady Cherrington. They were each responsible for half of the class and via subtle techniques encouraged the students to work out solutions for themselves which the students later used to progress their own coaching methods. Using a work book endorsed by the Rugby Unions of England, Scotland and Wales, the students were well provided for in terms of source material.

RNRU Womens’ and Eastern Region’s Forwards Coach and erstwhile Mariner, David ‘Topsy’ Turner said, “…it was a great course aimed at challenging my decisions as a coach. This brought about a better coaching product from me and helped my development. I intend to maximise my new found skills during Royal Navy Womens' Rugby sessions.”

A well developed and fun course, a number of the older heads enjoyed getting their hands on the ball again and thrived on the challenges imposed by the constraints of the SSGs. Did they come away better coaches? If they are able to instil the core values of England Rugby (Teamwork, Respect, Enjoyment, Discipline and Sportsmanship) in their players that will be mission achieved. Wayne Smith (NZ All Blacks’ Coach) put it better: “I believe coaching is all about trying to develop better people, not just players, and it’s important to enjoy the whole experience.”

If you think you would be interested in getting involved in rugby then check out the courses the RFU hosts throughout the country. For those serving personnel, coaching is recognised as part of the personal development process and you can claim your annual Standard Learning Credit to put towards RFU courses allowing you to recoup some of the cost. If coaching is not for you then perhaps refereeing or volunteering at your local club or ship or establishment would suit you. Further information can be found at the England Rugby website or for Royal Navy and Royal Marines go to www.navyrugbyunion.co.uk

…and finally an advert for all RNRU members, the Member Clubs Annual General Meeting will be in HMS Temeraire on Thursday, 1st December.

Article by J Campbell-Baldwin.
Images by RNRU © J Campbell-Baldwin © David Duran