Over one hundred coaches and managers gathered at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra last weekend for a two-day workshop ahead of Australian Rugby Union’s (ARU) Junior Gold Program which kicks off next week.
The Junior Gold Program supports the long term development of talented players in the U15-17 year age groups through an accessible and nationally coordinated pathway.
The next program will be delivered during the off-season and pre-season across Australia through November 2012 to March 2013.
Coaches and managers came from across the country representing 22 Junior Gold program centres including all regions of NSW, North Queensland cities such as Cairns, Townsville and Central Queensland, Adelaide, Darwin, Melbourne, South East Queensland, Brisbane and Sydney.
ARU, in partnership with the Government’s Illicit Drugs in Sport (IDIS) Education program, funds the Junior Gold program and the coaches and managers workshop to provide quality and affordable access to all participants.
The Junior Gold program underpins ARU’s national talent development program, the Pathway to Gold, targeting player development and providing important quality exposure and development opportunities to over 120 coaches nationwide.
Operating in 22 training centres across Australia, The Junior Gold Program selects the best young players with potential in the U15-18 year age groups outside of the National Gold Squad. Approximately 1,000 players will be selected for the 2012/2013 Program.
ARU’s High Performance Programs Coach and NSW Junior Gold Program Coordinator, Hugh Carpenter said bringing together all Junior Gold coach and management staff was a critical part of the overall program.
“We recognise that at all levels, coaching must be a prioritised element of any Rugby program,” Mr Carpenter said.
“This workshop recognises talented coaches whilst providing up to date information and setting some national standards for delivery.
“The AIS provides a world class facility for such a workshop and facilitates quality education and learning.
“Our Junior Gold Coaching team are some of the best coaches from all regions and major cities of Australia and it’s important that we have this level of coaches working with our best young players.”
Coaches attended practical and theoretical sessions about the latest coaching techniques delivered by ARU’s High Performance Programs, Coaches, Adrian Thompson, Hugh Carpenter and Andy Clark with a special guest session by current University of Canberra Brumbies Assistant Coach, Laurie Fisher.
National Coach Development Manager, Matthew Wilkie also delivered sessions on coaching practice and effectiveness highlighting the importance of ‘How to Coach’, not just ‘What to Coach’.
Over 20 state development staff also attended the workshop as they will work within the program alongside local coaches to ensure effective alignment between the community and high performance threads of the game.
“The workshop finalised a lot of planning for next season and will help ensure that the Junior Gold Programs kicks off with a high level of national consistency and quality,” Mr Carpenter added.
“The program provides a great opportunity for players to access national talent development programs and at the same time recognises and supports the development of our best coaches and management throughout Australia.”
The ARU’s Pathway to Gold program seeks to develop and select players across both 15 a-side and Rugby Sevens from U15 years of age through to national team representation.
The program includes males and females and is designed to build both the player pool and the talented player pool over the long term.
Players not gaining selection in a national talent development program will be provided access to information to continue their development. These players are strongly encouraged to work hard towards their aspirations as the pathway enables players to enter and exit at any stage of development and age.