Friday, September 23, 2011

Welsh International Tackles Coaching

Welsh international scrum-half Richie Rees started his rugby career at Dunvant RFC. He then played for the Ospreys regional team in Wales for two years winning the Magners League in the 04/05 season, before joining London Irish. In 2007 he returned to Wales when he signed for the Cardiff Blues going on to win the EDF Energy Cup in the 08/09 season and the Amlin Challenge Cup in 09/10.

Here, Richie talks about the importance of coaching at both the grassroots and professional levels.

During my experiences, which involve taking part in every team sport and individual sporting activity, I could make my (always willing) parents taxi me to wherever I wanted to go. When I was younger, through to my time now in my 8th season as a professional rugby player, there has always been one constant - a willing coach / teacher / volunteer at the thousands of training sessions undertaken to aide and help improve my ability and make me the best player I could be.

Coaches play a particularly important role in developing children’s sporting abilities or simply increasing a child’s desire to participate in their favored sport, while also mentoring their overall development. Therefore, particular attention needs to be given to recruiting and retaining volunteer coaches. Volunteers are vital for increased sports participation and I feel parents, too, have a responsibility for assisting in their child’s sporting goals, something I was lucky enough to experience.

In my eyes, the most important quality you need to be a successful coach is enthusiasm. I have found that nearly all of the sporting individuals I have played with, at all levels, respond brilliantly to an eager, hard working, honest, knowledgeable leader. Good coaches will concentrate on the specifics of the individual or team and how they can best improve. My first memorable experience of [good coaching] was during my 2nd year of secondary school with my PE teacher, an ex Rugby Player called Trevor Cheeseman. He noticed that I only seemed to pass the ball off my right hand and not my left. This was pointed out to me, worked on, corrected and now ironically means my stronger passing hand is now, my left hand. Had he not recognized this then it might not have been spotted until it was to late, in turn meaning I may well not be doing the job I do now because of the importance of having the ability to pass off both hands as a scrumhalf in Rugby Union.

So, good players / individuals need talent but they also need good coaches and the willing volunteers to give them the opportunity to enjoy their given sporting activity.