Article by Dave Livesey
On 24th September 2017 Jon Bates and Dave Livesey travelled to the COBRA Club in Petaling Jaya, Kuala Lumpur as part of the HSBC Penguin International Coaching Academy. These coach education sessions have been taking place since 2005 with hundreds of coaches benefiting from World Rugby approved coaching courses. This year the aim was to deliver a World Rugby Level 2 (15s) coaching course and a World Rugby Introduction to 7s (L1).
Thank you to HSBC who provided the funding for the course, the HSBC Penguin Coaches, COBRA, for hosting the courses, and finally to the participants who made the course.
World Rugby Level 2 Course
Fifteen coaches took part in the Level 2 course, the majority coming from schools in the Sabah and Selangor states. The focus of the coach education programme was to advance the coaching skills of individuals, and provide the confidence and expertise required to establish and sustain rugby growth in their schools and regions. During the three days of the course it was hugely rewarding to see all the coaches embrace new learning and evolve their coaching style from drill based practice to the use of game zone and skill zone approaches. All of the coaches demonstrated significant progress in their understanding and application of coaching principles throughout their time on the course, and they departed with clear action plans to demonstrate these new skills.
All coaches had some powerful stories to share, yet one from Shahriezaniel Bin Salim stood out. Shah, a former Malaysian national team player had his career cut short due to a number of knee injuries. He admitted that prior to the course he would have been a very drill based coach with a big focus on discipline. However, after the course he shared with us how he had completely changed his mind set on coaching, and would now be delivering his sessions through games zones and skill zones, with more of an emphasise of player enjoyment and development. Shah demonstrated excellent coaching process skills and this coupled with his knowledge and experience of international rugby puts him in a great position to coach to a very high standard in Malaysia. Both Jon and myself have pushed for Shah to be invited to national training camps and facilitated his ongoing development, with additional resources around the scrum, a specialist area for Shah.
Focussing on the fundamental modules of Core Values, Coaching & Playing Philosophy, Functional Analysis, Key Factor Analysis & player welfare, we spent a good amount of time providing the coaches with as much opportunity to coach and receive feedback on their use of the game zone/skill zone approach. This method of coaching is very much based around using the principles of play to set up adaptable games and using rewards and consequences to effect behaviour change, through decision rich coaching environments.
For example, when players need further development or support, they are taken from the game and put into a skill zone, where they can refine their skill development with a coach’s support. These
coaching methods are at the forefront of player development in many nations, and crucially lend themselves to an inclusive player environment. We were extremely pleased that all of the fifteen coaches completed the L2 course and have been accredited as competent.
World Rugby Introduction to 7s
The 7s course was run on Friday and included some of the L2 coaches returning from the previous course, along with a new cohort of eager coaches. The profile of the 7s game is high in Malaysia, with the recent bronze medal win by the women’s national team and a gold for the men’s national team, in the South-East Asia Games: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKl8BhQWxNk.
It was significant to hear that many of the coaches enrolled on the course were involved in developing women’s rugby in their regions. Due to a torrential downpour in the morning we had the opportunity to utilise some the 7s video content to help coaches get a firm understanding of the 7s game, and its differences to the 15-a-side game. They were able to profile their own team and also discuss how they can be ambassadors for the core values of the game. After a break in the afternoon for lunch and prayers we spent the rest of the day maximising the coaching opportunities for all aspects of the games. From kicks offs, scrums, line-outs, attacking shape and defence, all coaches had the chance to deliver whole or parts of the session. The coaches who had stayed on from the L2 course supported the new coaches with the game zone skill zone approach, using their recently acquired skills to showcase effective coaching. We were very lucky to have an ex-world series 7s player on the course who had represented Samoa; it was even better to get the feedback from him how much he had learned on the course and how it would support his future coaching!
Again we were very pleased that all 21 coaches in attendance completed the course and will now go on to develop 7s rugby in both genders to over 250 players across Kuala Lumpur. This will hopefully build on the profile of the game and we will see an increase in female participation in the coming seasons.
In terms of legacy from the course there is a great Whatsapp group set up sharing coaching resources and gaining feedback from the coaches on how the new coaching skills are being received by their players, together with bit of good humour!! COBRA and the HSBC Penguin Coaching Academy are also looking to run 3 more courses next season:
· WR Level 1 7s
· WR Level 2 7s
· WR Level 3 15s
Dave and Jon wold like to thank HSBC for all their support, the Penguins for the opportunity to travel oi Kuala Lumpur and be involved in developing rugby in Malaysia and of course the COBRA Club for their wonderful welcome and hospitality, and look forward to hearing of the ongoing successes of the project.