RugbySmart was introduced by NZRU in 2001 as a compulsory annual course for ALL coaches at all levels of rugby from Under 14 up. The course was developed in response to a growing number of permanently disabling spinal and brain injuries in the game in New Zealand mainly in either the scrum or the tackle. As a result of the programme and the increased awareness by coaches of the need for safe technique – the RugbySmart mantra is ‘Good Technique is Safe Technique’ – the number of catastrophic injuries has been reduced from an average of ten to twelve per year to only one or two. Of course one such injury is too many and the challenge is to ensure that our game at all levels is as safe as possible through excellent coaching.
Safety in junior rugby is catered for through compulsory coaching courses as part of the NZRU Small Blacks Development Model catering for all levels below Under 14.
Gameplan 2010 gives USA coaches based in Hawaii the opportunity to experience the RugbySmart Programme and to benefit from an extended version delivered over two days by NZRU’s three Regional Coach Development Managers. Coaches will have the opportunity to listen to the theory as well as experience the safe techniques covered in the course through practical demonstrations and a ‘hands on’ approach and then get the chance to deliver these new-found techniques to players. This inclusive version of the course was recently very successful in Italy with over two hundred Italian coaches attending a series of RugbySmart seminars in four regions.
In addition, Gameplan 2010 will include a number of modules from NZRU’s Developing Rugby Coaches’ Course which will aim to expand coaches’ knowledge and delivery in key areas of the game as NZRU looks to contribute to the development of USA coaches through involvement in the Gameplan initiative.
Remember…….’RugbySmart is RugbySafe!’
Richard Skelly | Coach Development and RDO Support Manager | New Zealand Rugby Union