I experienced 12 years of junior rugby union in the heart of Reds territory during the 1970's and 1980's at club and school (GPS) levels. Ballimore were the halo grounds we kids dreamt of playing on at the end of the season during the finals. I was particularly blessed and had numerous runs onto the concave surface representing the Kenmore Bears Rugby Union Club, as a halfback. Because of these experiences and the dedication of my coach from Under 7 to Under 13, I decided to give something back to the game I loved and coach a junior rugby union team, modelled on how I was coached.
The first year I coached the Under 9 Wests Junior Rugby Union team. Being in control of 15+ Under 9 was an eye opener, particularly for a 24 year old who had no babysitting experience! A well planned session based on my Queensland Rugby coaching manual, "The Game Played in Heaven", which included large varieties of stretches/fitness & skill drills/games/moves..., created an exciting, informative and smooth running session for all. It was a great reward to see the players improving every week, building in confidence and skills. We had a number of losses at the start, however, we came back and beat most of the teams in the second round and found ourselves at the top of the ladder at the end of the year. With great disappointment, my 2 year of coaching the same team, Under 10's now, was cut short with work commitments. Their progress through the first part of the year was admirable. They had become a champion team.
Our Kenmore Bears, back when I was playing, were a champion team too! What qualities do a champion Rugby Union team display? Every training session and every match day my coach and I installed 7 important traits on our team:
1. Go Forward - The aim of the game is to put the ball over the try line. This can only be achieved by going forward. Through the middle is the fastest way!
2. Protect the Ball - You can't go forward and score a try without the ball, nor can the opposition! Secure that ball.
3. Support the Ball Carrier - Give the ball carrier options and don't let him get isolated!
4. Continuity - Continuous/Exciting play is a result of going forward, protecting the ball and supporting the ball carrier!
5. Fair Play - Penalties just gives the ball and territory to the opposition!
6. Versatility - Players given the opportunity to play in numerous positions create a greater scope and skills of the game.
7. Most important, Have Fun!
By Darrin Read
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