Three Jamaicans will be among than 50 delegates from 19 nations assembled at Brunel University, London, for the first Rugby League European Federation Technical Coaching Strategy course on Thursday (24th March). The four day get together, the largest of its kind in the sport, will feature topics such as; coaching philosophy, physiology, technical match aspects, principles of team organization, anti-doping, session planning, tactics and psychology. Jamaica’s delegation is headed by Ventley Brown, Athletic Director of sports GC Foster College and chairman of the Jamaica Rugby League Association. Mr. Brown will look to establish rugby league links between UK based universities and GC Foster College, the largest sports college in the English speaking Caribbean. According to Brown;
“Rugby league is poised to have a major impact on all levels in Jamaica, this includes primary schools, high schools and at the tertiary level. This course will positively impact the standard of our game at the club and community level as well, in that we will be able to certify coaches through a MOU between GC Foster College and the JRLA. This will be facilitated through the RLEF investing in improving our technical knowledge of both coaching and match official principles” .
The other members of the Jamaican delegation are Romeo Monteith, Director of Rugby and assistant national coach and Roy Calvert, vice captain of the national team. Jamaica’s presence at the conference was made possible through the JRLA’s partnership with Virgin Atlantic and the RLEF and Monteith believes there are tremendous benefits to be gained;
“We are very grateful to Virgin Atlantic for getting us here because the World Cup qualifiers are in October and I am sure or national players will also benefit from the technical knowledge we will gain here. Right across the board we will be able to upgrade our coaches and this will result in us getting better prepared players to the national programme".
Among the coaches present delivering the modules will be England supremo Steve McNamara, Serbia Technical Director Lee Crooks, Italy Assistant Paul Broadbent, Andy Kelly and RFL Head of Coaching Vinny Webb. McNamara said: “The number and diversity of the nations now involved in international rugby league is a great sign of our game`s quality and appeal to new and existing audiences. It also confirms the sport is truly developing beyond its existing boundaries”.
The multi-phased project, which will result in each participating delegate receiving a tutor qualification in one or both of coaching and match officiating disciplines, is an integral part of the RLEF’s new eight-year strategy, launched in August 2010. Its principal aim is to increase participation numbers and empower nations to professionalize their administrations. Being fully equipped to develop the technical side of the sport is the first step.
The project continues in May with the opening phase of the match official’s project, also at Brunel University, followed by a tutor element delivered by region and a third and final phase staged in each country. McNamara added, “While it is important that each country develops its own particular brand and style of rugby league, it is vital that everybody has the opportunity to learn the key fundamentals and techniques of the game to allow all the nations to blossom.” “I personally have had many great opportunities and experiences helping pass on knowledge whilst overseas and learned from the people I have worked with there.”