WELSH RUGBY has adapted the landscape of community coach development in Wales to meet the changing needs of grassroots coaches and players.
The Welsh Rugby Union recently undertook a comprehensive series of workshops for community coaches of every level and the results of the consultation process have formed the basis of the new approach to grassroots coaching in Wales.
The new system prioritises the holistic development of the coach and enables them to access continued support, resource and qualifications throughout his or her coaching career, whether he or she remains in junior club coaching, moves on to male or female senior coaching at grassroots level, pursues opportunities within the performance end of the game or a mixture of the above.
Rather than a pyramid-type coach development system with Tag and Children’s Level 1 at the bottom and Level 4 at the top, the recent consultation process, along with research and collaboration with other governing bodies and organisations have helped the WRU design a new system which places the coach at the centre and recognises the various ways and entry points individuals may get into coaching.
It allows for more regular workshops and assistance (CPD) outside the formal coach courses to enable coaches to become more skilled and supported at their chosen level of coaching, which will in turn help them to develop better players.
The coaching courses have also been changed, principally introducing a new ‘Coaching Early Contact’ course for under 9s to under 11s which recognises the need for additional support, especially around the important area of safety within the game, at a crucial time for players as tackling and other elements of the rugby are introduced and developed.
Community coach development manager Gerry Roberts said: “Grassroots club coaches form the vast majority of our active coaches in Wales and we believe this new approach to coach development will not only support them in their journey as coaches but in doing so will improve how we develop our players in Wales.”
WRU Head of Rugby Participation Ryan Jones added: “Players’ enjoyment of our sport is largely dictated by the one-on-one involvement they have with their coach – a fun, safe and inspiring environment gives them all a positive rugby experience. The changes being implemented are all with Welsh Rugby’s purpose at front of mind – more people, more often, with more enjoyment and more success.”