David Elliott, the RFL’s National Programmes Manager, provided the latest webinar for community and junior coaches this week – focusing on the subject of managing time, especially around training sessions.
Throughout the suspension of Rugby League activity because of the Coronavirus pandemic, the RFL have offered additional resources to clubs, coaches and players – with previous webinars from the England Head Coach Shaun Wane and the England Knights Head Coach Paul Anderson.
More than 100 community coaches enrolled for the latest session from Elliott, the former Kells and Warrington player who has been with the RFL since 2008 – and steered England Academy to a significant 2-0 series win against the Australian Schoolboys in late 2018.
“One of the subjects we talked about was the best way to manage time when the game does come back – and my message to coaches was that there’s no reason they can’t start now,” he explained.
“Whether that’s emailing players, arranging Zoom calls or whatsapp groups, or joining the RFL’s Virtual Clubs initiative.
“It all helps in keeping players focused on their rugby, allowing them to work on their skills at home – and building up the anticipation to everyone being able to get back training and playing together again.
“Time management is important in coaching at all levels of the game, but especially in the community and junior game where you often don’t have much time with your players, and you want make the most of every minute.
“That increases the benefits of planning ahead. Arriving at a session with a clear idea of what you’re going to do – and we recommend doing as much game-based training as possible, so players are always working on their skills, whether that’s catching, passing or tackling, rather than standing around or just running around without a ball in their hands.
“The principles are the same whether you’re coaching Wigan St Pats Under-8s or Wigan Warriors Academy. You want to make the most of all the time you have with your players, because that’s the way you maximise their enjoyment, and the amount they benefit from each session.
“I showed a bit of what we did with England Academy in 2018, preparing to face the Aussies – we identified areas where we thought we could beat them, and then put it into games. With England Academy, England Youth, England Women, your time can be limited as well, so you have to think about it and make the most of it.
“The feedback we’ve had since the session has been fantastic – I’ve been pleasantly surprised actually, because it’s hard when you’re speaking into a laptop, you’re wondering if everyone’s drifting off to make a cup of tea!”
The full webinar is available to watch here.
The RFL’s next webinar for coaches is Women's & Girls - The Challenges Faced Coaching Mixed Ability Groups, and will be hosted next Tuesday, June 23, by Stuart Barrow, the RFL’s National Women and Girls Talent Manager (7pm) – part of the focus on maintaining the momentum that has been generated around the Women’s and Girls game in recent years.