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Pountney’s QBE coaching refresher works wonders

28 August 2013

  • QBE Coaching Club success in Hampshire
  • Bournemouth and Totton to feel the benefit
Budge Pountney on QBE Coaching Club course at Lord Wandsworth College

Photo: RFU Archive

Former Scotland captain and new Bournemouth RFC director of rugby Budge Pountney has hailed the QBE Coaching Club as “a great idea” and endorsed the RFU’s work in increasing the quantity and quality of rugby coaching in England.

The QBE Coaching Club has been established by the RFU in partnership with QBE to recruit and train 2,015 new level 2 rugby coaches by September 2015, through dedicated RFU-organised courses run by the Union’s network of regional teams at venues around the country.

Pountney, the former Northampton Saints and Scotland flanker, joined a group of 25 course members, comprising coaches from clubs and schools and players of varying ages, at Lord Wandsworth College in Hampshire over three days in June and July.

Lord Wandsworth was the school where England internationals Jonny Wilkinson and Ugo Monye played much of their early rugby.

Now it was the venue for Pountney, who captained Scotland six times among his 31 caps and also coached Northampton from 2003 to 2005, to add to his knowledge.

He is coaching rugby with sixth-year students at Totton College alongside his new role at Bournemouth RFC in National League Two South.

“I really enjoyed the QBE Coaching Club course,” said Pountney, 39, who also serves as a citing officer for the RFU. “I did my Intermediate coaching badges, the predecessor of Level 2, about 20 years ago and it has been fantastic to refresh them and pick up the new developments.

“The game and some of the laws have changed hugely from when I was a player, and the course opened my eyes to ask fresh questions of myself.

“I had a few years’ break from coaching before returning at Totton College and the course has given me a new perspective.”

The RFU and QBE are working with a group of coach educators to train the new level 2 coaches, providing a consistent approach across the QBE Coaching Club.

The course [see below for a breakdown of each day] takes a holistic approach, equipping coaches with the practical and personal skills needed to develop players both on and off the pitch.

Conor O’Shea, QBE Ambassador and Harlequins Director of Rugby, said: “It is great to be involved in such an important project with QBE. Increased investment in grassroots coaching benefits all areas of the game and plays a key role in developing the sport all the way up to the professional level.”

Pountney, who was born in Southampton and went to school in Winchester, explained: “The crux of the course is how to concentrate on a coaching style – to get the message across in the right way.

“We all want to make sure that a young player’s first contact with a coach is a good one.

“There’s a responsibility on coaches to teach all of this correctly.

“In a way I came full circle to be at Totton.

“We have a good squad of young first years [in the sixth form] who have done well and were third in the Hampshire Colleges league.

“Some of our players have played a bit of rugby before; others are new to it completely. The point of rugby at the college is to enrich the students – it is not about how good someone is as a rugby player but their development as a person. And the drop-out rate for kids in rugby at this stage of their lives is quite high.

“We would like our rugby players to remain in the game as long as they can. It could be that a player I am coaching is the next international, or the next third XV coach at a rugby club or the next chairman of a club.

“Now I am at Bournemouth too, I am involved as a director of rugby in a different way, we have a strong coaching team that I want to support and add to, and hopefully bring some new techniques to excite the players and myself in how we think about the game. It is more about creating an environment where players have the opportunity to excel and improve.

“The QBE Coaching Club is a great idea and I’d recommend it to anyone interested in coaching style, technical issues and the continuous personal development that goes alongside.

“It’s important for all coaches to learnt the correct way, first time around, or if they are like me, revisit their skills and pick up new ones.”

* More about the QBE Coaching Club course for Level 2 coaches – the criteria for applications include UK residency, membership of an RFU affiliated club, experience of coaching 15-a-side rugby at a club, school, college or university at 15+ level and previous attendance at Rugby Ready and Scrum Factory coaching sessions and commitment to continue coaching 15 a-side rugby (Under 15s to adult rugby) to 2015 and beyond.

This is how the three-day course was put together:

Day 1

  • RFU Player Development model – indoor workshop task
  • Practical 1 – modelling session from coach educators
  • Review of practical 1 – indoor session to break down key learning
  • Practical 2 – “buddy coaching” of a session with candidates working in pairs
  • Core Values – indoor session looking at core values and expectations
  • Core Skills and Key Factor Analysis – indoor session to prep candidates for practical 3
  • Practical 3 – solo coaching of one of the “Principles of Play”

Day 2

  • Practical 4 – coaches deliver a pre-prepared core skill session
  • Developing the Whole Player – indoor session on climate setting and developing the whole player/person
  • Developing decision makers – indoor workshop session
  • Back line attack – part indoor/part outdoor delivery of developing a backline

Day 3

  • Practical 5 – coaches deliver a pre-prepared session on play from scrum, lineout or restart
  • Back line defence – indoor session on defensive systems
  • Practical 6 – Scrum, Tackle and Lineout – check and confirm learning from both Rugby Ready and Scrum Factory courses, top up of knowledge if appropriate
  • Final 1-2-1 with Coach Educator
 

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