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Community Rugby Manager coaches with Eddie Jones.

Last week DRFC Community Rugby Manager Lisa Davis was fortunate enough to be selected as one of only twelve grassroots coaches in the whole of Country to attend a Coaching Day with England Coach Eddie Jones as part of the Mitsubishi Motors Volunteer Recognition Programme.

The programme provides grassroots rugby clubs with opportunities to recognise and reward individuals who make up an integral part of the grassroots game.

Lisa was anonymously nominated by one of the DRFC members and selected, so headed to Teddington to meet our illustrious national team coach and has diarised the day for drfc.co.uk.

The day began informally with a quick meet and greet with the other coaches and we were soon discussing coaching methods with RFU Coach Development Manager Nick Scott and Coaching Development Officer Andy Webb.  Plenty of interesting and unusual points were raised; for example, the use of headbands instead of bibs to differentiate between two teams. Why? To encourage players to lift their heads up and scan what is happening in front of them rather than glancing down at a bib.

All the coaches were asked why did they get into to coaching?  Most of the answers were very similar, they wanted to give something back to the sport that had given them so much. Personally, I got into coaching as a means of staying active in the game after injury prevented me playing.

Following the discussion, we broke into our coaching teams where I joined with two other coaches, one from Castle Carey in Somerset and the other from Lincoln.  Our brief was to devise a game zone that encourages keeping the ball alive in attack and we came up with a simple game of two ball touch.  One side played rugby (attacking) and the defenders had to use a football/tennis ball to tig the attacker to simulate a tackle.  Once all the details were ironed out, progression ideas were discussed and we then re-joined the other coaches.

The following morning, we discussed our plans over breakfast with the other coaches and Nick and Andy.  It was interesting to hear other coaches plans for their session and to hear what they thought about our plan.  After breakfast we all travelled to London Irish’ training ground before splitting into our coaching teams. We were then introduced to Eddie Jones who proudly declared. “The Community game in England is “a country mile” ahead of anywhere else in the world – and that is down to the people who make it happen – you are all leaders in the field.” A rather proud moment I must say.

We then went onto the field and watched the coaching and the feedback sessions until it was our turn.  Needless to say there were a few nerves, delivering our coaching session in front of one of the world’s best, but we got the players together, explained the game and off we went.  At the end of the session, the boys and girls had smiles on their faces, they’d worked hard and had fun.  Now it was our turn for Eddie’s feedback……. “Brilliant Session” “Good praise” What an accolade to our coaching team.

This opportunity was truly once in a life time and I cannot thank those that nominated me enough. I took so much away from the day and look forward to using what I have learnt here at Castle Park.

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