Academy Coaches: Rob Drinkwater - Australia, Ben Fisher - New Zealand, Hugh Campbell - Scotland, Peter Cook - England
An integral part of the club’s remit is to help grow and develop the sport of rugby around the world and this is carried out by the HSBC Penguins International Coaching Academy (The Academy). The Academy organises structured rugby coaching programmes and coach-tutoring courses for coaches and young people in overseas countries where that expertise is not readily available locally. This helps young people to improve their skills and knowledge of rugby. It also encourages participation in the game of rugby which in turn, promotes sportsmanship, teamwork, camaraderie and traditional rugby values for which the HSBC Penguins are renowned.
Since formation in 2004, the Academy, made up of Penguins from all over the world, has travelled to many different destinations and coached thousands of children and adults. As well as introducing youngsters to the sport – many for the first time – through HSBC Rugby Festivals, special ‘Coach Education’ sessions are held with teachers and non-qualified coaches around the world to increase the number of World Rugby qualified coaches in order to ensure a lasting legacy remains.
This coaching trip began in Indonesia on the 28th October and was delivered by coaches from Australia, New Zealand, Scotland and England.
The coaches (plus one Penguinette) all arrived into typical Jakarta evening traffic on Friday 28th October and after getting to know each other commenced the final planning and logistics for the week in Indonesia.
After checking in with our hosts for the first weekend (Jakarta Komodos Junior Rugby Club) it was an early night to rest up for the rigours of the week ahead.
Saturday morning saw an early check-out and departure for the hours’ drive to Jagorawi Golf Club and the venue for the Komodos Juniors Camp. Some 120 children aged between 8 and 16 (including 20 girls) were on hand to get stuck in to their first rugby clinic, Penguin style.
The late morning started with groups forming of around 20 – 40 children with a separate girls group and commenced with their usual club coaches leading the sessions. Whilst this was not new for the participants, it did provide the HSBC Penguin Coaches with the opportunity to observe the level and abilities of the playing groups as well as the process skills of the respective coaches.
After lunch, the groups rotated around a series of skill stations including scrum, tackle, handling, ruck and kicking. During these rotations, the HSBC Penguin coaches utilised some of the Komodos Juniors coaches (accredited by the Penguins in 2013) to assist with the delivery.
In addition to the coaching sessions taking place, World Rugby Accredited Educator, Ben Fisher, led a coach development session for 12 interested parents on hand in order to upskill them with some foundation coaching process skills.
Whilst language and communicating was often challenging, the assistance of local and ex-pat coaches ensured that the HSBC Penguins were easily able to adjust and ensure that their key messages were delivered and well received.
Unfortunately, torrential rain bucketed down on the camp in the late afternoon so much so that it forced the Komodos to abandon the scheduled evening activities of camping out. The ensuing water however provided great opportunity for young and old to make do and find new ways to utilise the tackle shields.
The sun was out again for the Sunday leg of the camp with 70 returning players. Following breakfast served at the club the players were back into the remaining skill rotations and the coaches from the coach development group continuing to practice their coaching process skills.
A key element of the two days was interaction with the local coaches whereby the HSBC Penguin coaches introduced an activity and then this was handed over to the local coaches for them to continue with and further progress. The Penguins coaches were always on hand to support and help develop the activity hand in hand with the locals. The outcome of this approach produced greater awareness and understanding of both players and coaches.
The second day rounded out with modified games across differing age groups where the participants put some new learned skills into practice.
Despite the rain and its impact on the two days, the camp was seen as a rousing success by all involved. One parent of an eight (8) year old player commented; “my son has been quite good with his rugby but the past few months he was losing interest. We (the parents) had a good talking to him prior to the camp in the hope that it may resolve these issues. His level of skill and interest increased significantly over the two days and when asked why or how, it wasn’t the talk from us (the parents) but the quality of coaching at the camp. The Penguin coaches really broke things down and made it easy to understand. Thank you Penguins”.
A further notable addition from the two days was the confidence and capability of the Komodos coaches whom had undertaken their World Rugby Level 1 accreditation back in 2013. Some of these coaches have really developed and are a core element into the success and growth of this club and rugby in Indonesia these past few years.
With the weekend behind them the HSBC Penguin coaches turned their attention to the week ahead and the various sessions planned around the capitol.
Monday saw the morning free then a coaching session in the afternoon with the Indonesian Rhino’s (International Squad). As is generally the case in Jakarta, the hotel pick-up was two (2) hours prior to the session to accommodate city traffic.
The national team had played a warm-up game a few days before and were heading off to Thailand a day later so the focus for the HSBC Penguins was on addressing their greatest short-term needs. Feedback from the players and coaches affirmed that these were patterns of play, line speed in defence and lineout.
Despite more torrential rain just prior to the session the HSBC Penguin coaches delivered in the mud to an enthusiastic group whose interest and energy grew as the session continued. Their eagerness and closeness increased and their apprehension ahead of their next match was far diminished by session close.
On the Tuesday (1st Nov), the scheduled annual visit to Mama Sayang orphanage was unfortunately cancelled due to inability to have the children out of classes. These visits in the past have been one of the highlights so it was with great disappointment that the coaches were not be able to deliver this session. In the afternoon the HSBC Penguins visited UNJ (Jakarta State University) where 15 females and 40 male players were split and enjoyed a sevens specific session as part of their preparations for the University National Championships coming up.
A most lively club, the players all benefited from the Penguins experience and were warm in their praise and thanks at the conclusion.
Wednesday (2nd Nov) saw the Penguins last day in Jakarta and a session at the Jakarta Islamic School. 28 players worked on basic handling, footwork and evasion, support running and ultimately moving into a sevens specific practice session.
Following this session the coaches checked-in to an airport hotel ahead of an early departure the next morning and the second stage of the Indonesian leg of the tour – Bali.
The Penguins arrived into Bali on Thursday 3rd November after early morning flights and were taken to the hotel to check-in. Phil Reid (Hotel manager – Hotel Mercure Bali Legian), warmly welcomed the HSBC Penguins and his enthusiastic support of Bali Rugby and rugby in general was duly noted.
Thursday evening involved a walk down to Kuta Beach and the weekly touch rugby games, this week with special guest players / coaches - the HSBC Penguins.
Friday (4th Nov) unfolded as the busiest (and by far the hottest) day in Bali with split sessions organised. Peter and Janet Cook were taken to Tabanan for introductory sessions with 18 pupils from two local schools. The session was joined by Kurt Lovell (Bali Chilli’s Rugby Club), Rendy Yusuf (Indonesian Rugby Development Officer) and two local coaches.
These students had never had the opportunity to engage with rugby before. Their sporting pursuits had previously consisted of martial arts and basketball, however these students were not being earmarked for future success or development in these sports. As a result, they were being redirected into other Olympic sports of which rugby is receiving higher acclaim since Rio 2016.
The students were shown footage of rugby in the Olympics as well as enthusiastic talks by those managing Bali and Indonesian rugby. The focus of the boys was quite noticeable and their attentiveness in the classroom was matched by their eagerness outside on the field.
The other half of this split day consisted of Penguin coaches (Hugh and Ben) delivering a World Rugby Level 1 Coaching accreditation course for 18 local coaches. The numbers here are an illustration of the growth and increased interest in rugby over the past few years. Two years ago was far more challenging with only four (4) coaches undertaking the course. This year was an enormous success and credit again to Kurt Lovell and Bali Rugby for their enthusiasm and ongoing commitment.
During the week after our return the coaches who had undertaken the accreditation course went up to Tabanan to run a further session for the boys. They turned up with the balls given out during our visit and were not deterred by the weather conditions as you can see from the photographs.
Following a quiet night with the local rugby fraternity, Saturday was a long travel day encompassing flights from Bali to KL, then a four hour stop-over ahead of the two-and-a-half hour flight from KL to the island of Labuan and the next leg of the 2016 Tour – Malaysia.
The first day in Labuan (Sunday 6th November) was a rest day for the coaches. Some sightseeing, shopping and taking in some local sights was a way for the HSBC Penguin coaches to recharge ahead of the second and busiest week of the tour.
Labuan had never been visited by the HSBC Penguins before and their presence together with the delivery of some 500 rugby balls had the small island buzzing.
Monday (7th) saw the morning session at SMK Pantai School with 118 participants (of which 24 were female). Amongst very wet conditions (field) the basic core skills (handling, passing and running) were delivered to an enthusiastic bunch of students.
In the afternoon the HSBC Penguin coaches split in two with Peter and Hugh working with SM Sains Labuan and their 23 players whilst Rob and Ben joined KV Labuan and their 33 players for coaching and game preparation ahead of Wednesday’s fixture between the two schools.
Tuesday (8th) saw another school – SMK Mutiara – and a further 90 participants. After what the coaches remarked as a challenging and slow start the previous day, all the HSBC Penguin coaches came away from this session far more positive and enthused for what they had achieved with each of their groups. The student’s particularly relished the tackling components of the session.
In addition to the coaching sessions, the HSBC Penguin coaches were also fortunate to leave behind the rugby balls used in the sessions for each of the schools and their participants. These gifts, courtesy of HSBC, were very warmly received.
The Tuesday afternoon continued with match preparation by the split coaching group, this time with increased numbers of 29 and 38 participants respectively.
Wednesday (9th) saw the Penguin coaches working with 56 boys and 46 girls from SMK Mutiara School. The rain that arrived through the session did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the players nor coaches and in fact brought a softening to the temperatures of the day. The girls group working with Hugh and Peter were particularly enthusiastic and saw them employing the transfer of their skills from netball to rugby. The boys group worked on ball handling, presentation and tackling and were thoroughly engaged for the duration.
The final coaching session in Labuan culminated with a match between the two schools (SM Sains Labuan and KV Labuan) whom the HSBC Penguin coaches had been working with during the week. Concerns from the Penguins coaches about the disparity between the ages and abilities of the players were allayed when the Penguins delivered a group coaching session on scrum and kicking prior to the match.
The schools coaches also participated in these coaching workshops which helped to upskill the coaches as well as ensuring the key points and safety aspects would be continued after the HSBC Penguins had departed.
The match, whilst resulting in five tries to nil was a fiercely contested game with both teams displaying the character and core values of rugby (teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline). The ability to debrief with the schools coaches post-match was valuable in what areas to address and next progressions could be established with the support of the Penguins still on hand.
The schools coaches also experienced the feedback and questioning approach of the Penguins which established a far more collaborative style than is usually employed in these parts of the world.
Overall assessment from the time in Labuan was extremely positive. This was the first time such a quantity of balls (500) had been delivered to the island which allowed for almost every player to have a ball in their hands for the duration of the sessions. Some parents had offered back that some of the children actually slept with these balls in the evening, so much were they valued.
Whilst quantifying the outcomes of the tour is important and recognised for auditing and measurement purposes, the qualitative aspects including the legacy that is left for the communities visited cannot be underestimated.
One of the coaches commented on his development as a person and a coach from his time with the Penguins. Another (player) offered the experiences from her involvement in the game and learnings from her time with the Penguins as once in a lifetime opportunities.
The HSBC Penguins coaches had brought new experiences, coaching styles, enjoyment and in turn received loads of smiles from the Labuan experience.
The Thursday (10th) entailed a travel day for the Penguins as they journeyed back to KL for the remaining days of the tour.
Settling back into KL and the COBRA Club, old acquaintances were renewed and debriefing of the Labuan leg took place.
Unfortunately, a severe electrical storm on the Friday afternoon curtailed the planned coaches’ workshop for the COBRA Cobrat’s (U6 – U12) coaches. This session had been delivered the year earlier but was an unfortunate miss due to weather.
The cancelled session however did not deter one Penguin (Peter) from an early start on the Saturday morning in order to deliver a clinic for one of the local KL Clubs – KL Saracens. Their thriving junior section gained much from the former internationals experience and coaching processes. Around 40 players were in attendance all of whom appreciated Peter’s commitment.