SRU Coaching Conference 2016
Held at Lichfield RUFC in July:
Cream of Coaching Events
When it comes to organising a coaching event that attracts no less than 75 coaches from a small CB, Elfyn Pugh is the man, and never underestimate the effect of a good pud to add to the flavour.
Last month (July) at Lichfield Rugby Club, Staffordshire Coaching Society, chaired by
Mike Bezus from Trentham Rugby Club, hosted their most successful conference, enjoyed by some 75 coaches from Staffordshire clubs and schools.
Presenting alongside England Rugby’s Richard Shuttleworth, Interim Head of Professional Coach Development and Community Rugby Coach Paul Arnold was International Performance Coach Russell Earnshaw, who was full of praise for the conference and Elfyn’s sweet course of success.
“I've been fortunate to have been invited to the conference several times.,” said Russell. “Elfyn is the classic rugby man, he works selflessly for the good of the team and loves every moment of it, in this case youngsters from around the area and 70 coaches from Staffordshire and beyond. In addition, he puts on the greatest dessert spread known to man!
“This year, with Rick’s input from professional coach development and Arnie’s as a local CRC, it also provided us with a great opportunity to connect up various parts of the organisation under the heading of 'rugby'. The sessions were applicable for all ages and abilities, with an emphasis on enjoyment, learning through games, and giving responsibility to the players. It was awesome to see the kids rising to the challenge and the coaches exploring different coaching skills.
“I'm now just hoping I get invited back next year!”
Staffordshire Coaching Society’s Secretary Elfyn, a youthful 82, may be Welsh by birth but is a Midlander by marriage to Kath, having lived in the Black Country for more than 50 years. A stalwart of Willenhall RUFC, he has been involved with coaching rugby in the West Midlands and Staffordshire for over 45 years and qualified as an RFU Preliminary Award holder in 1970.
More than four decades ago Staffordshire Coaching Society introduced coaching weekends held at various colleges in the county where coaches from the RFU in the Don Rutherford era, and those from the Welsh, Scottish and Irish Unions attended as presenters.
“These were excellent weekends and helped foster good relations and friendships,” said Elfyn. “But with the passage of time and rising costs it became too expensive to run weekend conferences. We decided to hold one day events and were fortunate to have good presenters and attendances.
“At our recent Lichfield Rugby Club event we had our most successful conference to date ans an exceptional turnout for a small CB. The three presenters for the day were outstanding.”
The morning session was conducted by Paul Arnold, CRC for Greater Manchester and senior coach at Fylde RFC who explained ways to Introduce lifting in the lineout at U15 level, leading to lifting (contested) at U16.
In the afternoon, Richard Shuttleworth, Professional Coach Development Manager and Russell Earnshaw, International Performance Coach, gave an excellent presentation on skill coaching in a game situation, working with youth players from Burton, Lichfield and Willenhall.
The conference ended with a popular Question and Answer session and said Elfyn, “Staffordshire are extremely grateful to the RFU for allowing members of their coaching staff to present and ensure all who attended benefitted greatly from the day. We have already had good feedback from the coaches reporting how they will incorporate the messages and learning into their coaching this coming season.”