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Coaching Academy Activities
Portugal, May 2010

Antonio Da Cunha, the Penguin representative for Portugal, arranged for a coaching session with Escolinha de Rugby da Galiza. The Mission Statement of the project is:

Tackle the differences - Social integration through rugby of children and youngsters from problematic communities.

President Maria Gaivão explains that since ths start in 2006 Escolinha de Rugby da Galiza has had 170 players. Maria further emphasises:

Escolinha de Rugby da Galiza” (ERG) mission is to strengthen social intervention in problematic communities through rugby. It aims at the development – human and athletic – of children/teenagers, between 3 and 15 years that live in a troubled and deprived community (Galiza) in the suburbs of Estoril (city close to Lisbon).

The children represent a great ethnical diversity, being mostly descendents from African, Brazilian and East-European parents. Rugby was selected because it is a cooperative sport that stimulates the perception and incorporation of essential values like team spirit, solidarity and tolerance – all are necessary, regardless of physical, cultural or temperamental differences. It promotes the sharing, practice and transmission of moral, ethic and social values, facilitating a balanced growth and permitting the development of self-reliance, respect for others and for human life. Furthermore, it is a bridge between the school (knowledge and skills) and the families (primary educators), involving them in a global educational and formative project, by using motivation tools like periodic objective contracts (scholarship, athletic and behavioural), self-evaluation reports, monthly parent meetings and participation in regular meetings and tournaments with national clubs.

Craig Brown, Tony Penn, Steve Ketchin, Tama Tuirirangi, Ben Pegna, team captain Marcus DiRollo, and Antonio da Cunha ran a session based on skills team work and of course fun.

The session took place on an outdoor concrete surface, which limited the amount of contact work that could be done, but none the less, the Penguin coaches ran an interesting and energetic session.

The assembled players were grouped into age groups with 3 groups formed between the 60 players present.

The older players concentrated on creating space through passing including loop, miss and switch passes and important to three were the running lines, inter-dispersed with relay and team competition games. The younger players worked on game and team structure through touch and other conditioned games.

A coaching team made up of Steve Hill, Ricarrdo Franconi, Ben Dormer, John McKittrick and Craig Brown travelled to the home club of the Penguin representative for Portugal, Antonio da Cunha, to run sessions for the club’s youth teams.

Upon arrival, the assembled players were split into their team groups and allocated to the Penguin coaches. Over the next 2 hours all groups had a vigorous work out with the emphasis on individual skills, organisation, tactics and also some 7s drills. In one group, Penguin Tour Manager Ben Dormer joined in teh action and was seen on the bottom of the odd ruck!

The groups coached were the Under 12s, Under 14s and Under 16s and 85 players in total attended.

At the completion of the coaching, following a quick shower, the Penguin coaches were hosted by the Belenesse committee for dinner in the clubs restaurant.

The Coaching Academy was delighted to run a session for our hosts Agronamia’s youth teams. Steve Hill, Riccardo Franconi and John McKittrick made the journey to the Agronomia grounds late Friday afternoon and arranged the 80 odd assembled players into three groups based on the players teams (Under 12, Under 14 and Under 16).

The local coaches provided guidance on what they would like the Penguin Academy coaches to base the sessions on. This was a mixture of skills, continuity, organisation and defence.

Tour captain Marcus Dirollo watches the passing drill with Steve Ketchin in the foreground
Tama Tuirirangi explains
A team huddle at the end
Ben Pegna supervising a game
Steve Hill makes a point as John McKittrick looks on
The Penguin Coaches with the Belenesse players and officials
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