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Gibraltar Coach Education Activities
Part One, 4th - 6th December 2015
Part Two, 13th - 15th October 2016

Article by Dave Cockburn

Over the course of two weekends, one in December 2015 and the second in October 2016 Penguin coaches Alun Harries (World Rugby Trainer) and Dave Cockburn (World Rugby Coach Educator) visited Gibraltar to deliver World Rugby - Rugby Ready, Coaches Level 1 and Coaches Level 2 courses to several Gibraltar Rugby Union coaches, on behalf of the Penguin International RFC.

Over the course of the Friday evening and Saturday, 5 candidates followed and successfully completed the World Rugby - Rugby Ready and Coach Level 1 coach education courses, with excellent interaction between all coaches and educators.

On the Sunday, another 5 candidates attended day one of the World Rugby Coach Level 2 course. It was a long day, with a lot of theory and practical sessions throughout, and all candidates contributed consistently well to make a very productive day. That was the easy bit! All the candidates were set two home study tasks to profile their teams and design sessions to improve their team performance or address weaknesses. This was a lot of work for them to do before Alun and Dave’s revisit, for their session and home study assessments, hopefully leading to successful completion and achieving Coaching Level 2 status.

Facilities were very good and the support and hospitality received from Mike Milward (Director of Rugby) and everyone else at the Gibraltar Rugby Union was excellent – although it was a unique experience having to pause practical sessions due to plane landings and takeoff’s as the international airport runway was less than 100m away!

The passion and enthusiasm of all the candidates and Gibraltar Rugby Union for the game was quite infectious and we are certain this will help them achieve their objectives and an improvement in rugby on ‘The Rock’.

Alun and I met in Malaga Airport late Thursday evening to be transported by taxi to Gibraltar. On reaching ‘The Rock’ we had to walk about a mile to our hotel due to a rock fall blocking the road to our destination. We met our hosts the next day for a planning meeting after a scenic journey round Gibraltar, again due to the rock fall.

We met early on Saturday morning at the Army Base on ‘The Rock’. The coaches were depleted by one because Luke Payas had moved to Australia. The coaches that took part were Chad Thomson, Paul Foster, Stephen Payas, and Nick Ramagge.

Chad and Nick took the first session of about 50 minutes and Paul and Stephen took the second session also lasting about 50 minutes. Alun and I both saw some really good content being delivered during both sessions.

Once these sessions were completed, we went back to the class room environment and had a debrief, where the Coach Educators expected to see evidence of the two home studies tasks set in December 2015.


Home Study Task 1

  • Watch the team you coach over 2-3 games
  • Note the performance of your team and measure against the Principles of Play
  • Use the templates to record your observations or use your own note taking system
  • Discuss your observations with others who observed your team and/or coach with you
  • Agree a common team profile based on the Principles of Attack and Defense
  • Be ready to explain your profile on Day 2 of the course

Having profiled your team:

  • Rank the priority areas your team needs to work on – this may be developing strengths or addressing weaknesses
  • These will be the priorities for the practice plan you will prepare and deliver on Day 2 of the coursel

Using your observations, and agreed priorities, as home Study (and referring to the Planning section of the manual)

  • Prepare a session to address the identified needs from your observations
  • Your session should demonstrate all aspects of good planning as described in the manual

Home Study Task 2

The tasks of this section are:

  1. To identify the functional roles that are the most important for each team position. These may be static roles and/or dynamic roles.
  2. To identify he most important key factors for each role.
  3. To select a team based on these criteria.

Playing position & Functional Roles

  • List all playing positions
  • Individually, for each playing position, list the 3 most important functional roles. These should be a combination of static and dynamic roles

Key Factors

  • For each role identify the 3 most important key factors for the successful performance of each of the roles.
  • Record the conclusion for each playing position

Team Selection

  • Use the team lists of the 4 teams who play in the Gibraltar 4 competition to select the best team, based on functional roles and their key factors.
  • After you name your team, explain the reasons for the selection using the two sets of criteria – functional roles and key factors.

We then had 1:1’s where the coaches had a chance to self-reflect on their coaching styles, content, philosophy etc. They were told during this session that they had achieved all the competencies apart from delivering an Action Plan and it was agreed that this would be sent to Alun and Dave.

We would like to reiterate what was said in the Part One report and that is:

The passion and enthusiasm of all the candidates and Gibraltar Rugby Union for the game was quite infectious and we are certain this will help them achieve their objectives and an improvement in rugby on ‘The Rock’.

Lastly thanks to Mike, Chad and Stephen for all the organisational help on this venture.

Jack Speak
Community Group
Jack Speak
Community Group