The primary goal of our organization is to help youth become better people, we are using rugby to teach them life skills for young men and women to use well past their playing careers. Wins and losses are only counted by the individual successes of the youth we work with. Rugby is a great medium for teaching many of these life skills because it is for everyone. Rugby welcomes all body types, fitness levels, genders, and races. We are committed to maintaining a welcoming environment as we continue to develop the program.
- Practice is a safe place to experiment, athletes doing something weird or different from what we have trained that is okay. We will work to encourage them to do things different, ask questions about why they are doing certain things and how they think it can help or work. Coaches will avoid criticizing a player for trying something new at practice. It is the coach’s responsibility to ask questions and gain understanding from players, as well as provide tools for the players to work with.
- Players can change, if a player wants to try out a new position or skill that is different from what we anticipated or planned, we will provide that opportunity. We will do our best to avoid putting players in boxes and encourage them to push their own boundaries. This requires a lot of adapting for coaches and will make some training sessions more complicated. The value of resulting environment, where the players feel like we listen to them and value their opinions is well worth the challenges associated with it.
- Rugby isn’t the most important thing in the world. Commitment and dedication are valuable skills to be learned, as coaches we will support players in keeping their commitments outside of rugby. Family, academics, health, safety, and career development are all more important than rugby, any concurrent athletics are just as important as rugby. If an athlete misses practice or games due to any of these reasons, there will be no repercussions. Attendance at practice will have a correlation to game playing time, however this is not a punishment, just a result to ensure the game is played in flow and safely. Players who miss practices will be provided an opportunity to learn skills missed due to absence.
- Training time is centered around rugby skills as much as possible. Our program is completely dependent on excellent coaches who have a great deal of experience and understanding of rugby. Our coaches are committed to developing the skills and strategies we can implement as a team. Our guiding principles in game play are Pressure and Possession. Having guiding principles is helpful in driving home more specific strategies and skills. As new skills or structure are installed, coaches will do our best to tie into our guiding principles. Players will be provided with documented play calls/signals/structures as they are installed. Our goal is to ensure we are creating training that is consistent and repeatable across all coaches.
- Conditioning is not a punishment; this reinforces a negative correlation that conditioning is bad. We will seek out ways to make conditioning fun, engaging and ultimately something players look forward to. We will work to integrate conditioning with skill development as much as possible. Getting players to focus on the results and benefits of conditioning will help the athletes understand the value of conditioning.
- Starters will be announced the day before 15s matches and day of 7s matches (subject to change for each match in tournaments). Gaining familiarity within core groups is fundamental to rugby and the flow of the game, we need to make sure this process is inclusive of all players. All players within respective groups need to understand the roles and responsibilities of the group and positions within the group. We will avoid creating sets of players, that train exclusively together. Interchange of all athletes throughout training sessions is critical to ensure players can adapt to the ever-changing environment. This is even more essential as players are subject to injury, quarantine or other availability issues more than ever before. Players who are not starting are not being punished. Starters are designated as such because they are the players we believe present us with the best opportunity to win based on the situation (opponent, player availability, etc.)