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Mexico Coaching Activities 2004

Coaches: Steve Hill (Oxford University Director of Rugby & Coach of England Students) plus the playing squad.

The HSBC Penguin Coaching Academy undertook its second official engagement, alongside the playing touring team in Mexico in 2004. One of the principal aims of the tour was to provide as many coaching sessions as possible, and the tour strategy reflects this (see below). In total six coaching sessions were held involving children and adults, and male and female participants.

The first session was held on Wednesday 23rd June with about 30 players in attendance, and, covered skills and decision-making activities, along with an alternative warm up from one of the Penguin’s team. Two further sessions were held later in the week covering similar skills, and moving on to individual skills. However, these sessions were less well attended. In all cases the ideas being put forward, especially those of creating and using space, were well received with improving application.

Six of the Penguin squad attended a training run for homeless children in Mexico City organised by two players from the Mexican rugby community. Whilst nothing overly structured was arranged, the Penguin players joined in a large game of rugby with the children. All the children were very enthusiastic, although some had not grasped the concept on staying on side, having watched much American football too much! The 90 minutes session was very rewarding as the homeless children were as interested in their visitors as the Penguin’s were in them. Some could speak English, so conversation relating to where we had come from and what we were doing in Mexico, developed. Upon departure all the children were invited to Dos Rios to watch the Mexican 10s tournament and participate in further coaching activities.

Two coaching clinics were run during the Mexican 10s and the first match against Mexico. Approximately 40 children aged between 5 and 16 were coached. Basic drills and skills were organised and were well received by the children, the majority of whom adapted to the routines and skills taught. All children were presented with an HSBC Penguin Rugby Coaching Academy T-shirt and badge.

The final coaching session was arranged for the students of Guanajauto. Twenty turned out to train, firstly with the Penguins as part of the general warm up of the team run, followed by a dedicated coaching session thereafter. This session concentrated on individual skills based on positions, followed by the build up to unit skills such as rucking and back line support and concluded with a semi opposed team run concentrating on recycling the ball for multi-phase attacking. The conditions were very trying with a heavy thunderstorm overhead with torrential rain for half of the practice run.

The university players grasped the concept of recycling, and continuing to attack well, and the forwards in particular, showed improvement in wiping out and rucking as the session progressed. Subsequent to the coaching the local players were presented with HSBC Penguin Rugby Coaching Academy T-shirts and badges, with the students reciprocating with Guanajauto University medals.

A visit to Huérfanos de la Guerra Sucia, Penjamo (Orphans of the Dirty War, Penjamo) was arranged during the teams stay in Acapulco. The team donated quantities of food and sports equipment to the orphanage, as well as spending two hours playing various games with the children. Some English was spoken which enabled some communication and Antonio da Cunha was kept busy interpreting, being the only fluent Spanish speaker in the team. Appendix B contains a reply from one of the directors of the institution.

The Mexican Rugby Federation has confirm how successful the tour was on a number of fronts especially the HSBC Penguin Rugby Coaching Academy.

Prior to the tour, the following strategy was agreed.

This strategy sets out the purpose for the visit to Mexico by the Penguin International RFC in June/July of 2004. In particular it provides a framework to meet the tour objectives is detailed.

The objectives of the tour will be set to compliment the club’s aims, including the creation of the HSBC Penguin Rugby Coaching Academy that aligns with HSBC's objective of education in the community:

  • coach as many Mexican rugby players / referees as possible;
  • introduce others in Mexico to rugby;
  • play attractive rugby;
  • promote HSBC when ever possible;
  • experience Mexico,
  • have fun.

The achievement of each of the tour objectives is detailed below.

The planning effort for the delivery of the various training sessions will be lead by Steve Hill, Tour Coaching Director, coach to Oxford University RFC, and England Students. Selected within the tour party are several individuals who have coaching experience at various levels and/or formal coaching certification. Correspondence with the Mexican Rugby Federation (MRF) will establish the appropriate style, level, and content for each of the coaching sessions.

As a catalyst, it is proposed some coaching formats are sent to the MRF for their consideration. The formats will be altered to suit age group and skill level subject to the MRF requirements. In any case, it is expected the plans will remain fluid enabling the coaching teams to alter the planned sessions to suit.

The current understanding is that the coaching effort will embrace senior players, age group players, and even young people who have never participated in rugby, for both male and female.

David Gorrie – Player coach at Monkstown
Paul Beal – Player coach at Redcar
Dafydd Lewis – Level 2 coaching certificate
Graham Barr – Physical education professional
Craig Brown – Director of Rugby Penguin International RFC
Steve Hill - Director of Rugby Oxford University
Andy Ireland - SRU senior referee

Current information confirms there are only a handful of refs in Mexico, but they are ably supported by others who both play and ref. As part of the HSBC Penguin Rugby Coaching Academy, the tour will provide seminars and practical coaching advice to the local referees.

The current proposal is to hold formal seminars and situation coaching. It is planned that the situation coaching will occurring during matches where advice can be given at half time and after the games. It will also be possible for the tour ref to use tour players to construct live situations to explain certain points.

The club’s refereeing effort will be undertaken by Andrew Ireland, a top five ref from the Scottish Rugby Union.

The coaching effort will be split between the two teams: the XVs team and the 10s team.

The coaching of the XVs team will be the responsibility of Steve Hill and Craig Brown, Tour Manager and Director of Rugby for the club. It is proposed the coaching style and content be developed in line with how the team advances through the training sessions prior to each game, depending on results, skill levels, attitude, and performance.

The 10s team will in general train with the XVs team but will split to fine-tune game elements and strategies. Craig Brown will lead the 10s coaching effort supported by Steve Hill.

This tour falls in the 8th year of the club sponsorship by HSBC (since 1997). The club is extremely proud, and honoured, to be sponsored by such a large and famous bank, and will ensure that HSBC is promoted at the forefront of all activities and endeavours.

Each tour member will receive an allocation of tour kit, which prominently promotes HSBC. This kit will be worn at all appropriate times and as directed by the tour manager.

Additionally, it will be the duty of each tour party member to promote and uphold the name and image of HSBC at all times.

It is assumed that the majority of the tour party will be visiting Mexico for the first time. Therefore, ample time will be allowed for tourist activities, meeting and socialising with locals, and R&R.

It is hoped, through good team spirit, that the coaching sessions will be beneficial to the MRF, Mexican rugby players, other people attending during the coaching sessions, and HSBC. It is hoped that the Penguin’s play attractive rugby, derive great enjoyment from the tour, meeting new friends and take home some lasting memories.

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