It was a cold morning and the first weekend of half term holiday, with many off skiing or simply enjoying a long lie in on a Sunday morning, but the few and the faithful Under 9 minis who came to training got a very special treat in the form of a visit from some of the Professional 1st XV side.
Despite having battled with Doncaster the previous day and travelling back to London on Saturday night, Ben Onyeama Christie and Joe LucaSmith (members of the 1st XV), Andrew Evans (Community Coaching Manager) and Dave Morris (Director of Rugby) came to support the London Scottish U9’s minis on Sunday morning.
With a special focus on tackling technique the two professional players explained to the boys the importance of body placement, how to ensure your opponent goes to ground quickly, protection of the ball to prevent knock on for the ball carrier and most importantly, how to do it all safely. Ben & Joe shared insight from their own matches and made reference to moves the children had seen in Six Nations games the previous day. The youngsters were clearly excited and encouraged to learn that the drills they practice still play a large part in professional training.
Mixed in with the coaching routines were fun games like “connect 4” using a large ground grid pattern of cones and promoting strategy and communication between players. The mixture of intensive progressive coaching routines and games kept children (and coaches!) motivated and made it a really fun session.
Training came to a close with some closely coached matches, reinforcing to the players to maintain pitch position both in defence and attack. A common issue seen at younger minis age groups is “crowding the ball” where players converge on the area of play. Coaches worked to raise player’s awareness of their position on the field creating the opportunity to play quick ball down either wing or alternatively maintaining a strong defensive line.
Parents, players, coaches and our two 1st XV visitors had a terrific time, thoroughly enjoying what can only be described as “One Club” vision. Well done to all involved!