Players and coaches from the Glendale Raptors teams met at Infinity Park on Tuesday, August 30th, with USA Rugby's Youth and High School Director Kurt Weaver for Rookie Rugby training. Certification for the Rookie Rugby teaching methods in the Raptors’ ranks is a big step in the continued growth of Glendale's Youth Rugby Program and their community game development.
Rookie Rugby is a non-contact game of rugby. The training, developed by USA Rugby, involves teaching methods directed specifically towards kids and young adults.
Glendale's Youth Rugby Director Jenna Anderson coordinated the group training session with Kurt Weaver and she was pleased with the response from all of the Glendale Raptors teams. "We had a great turnout with numbers from our Men's and Women's Senior teams as well as many boys and girls from the High School teams." She continues. "Even some of the Men's and Women's Senior coaches joined the training just to get up to date on some of the new games and drills and different approaches to teaching the game of rookie rugby."
Some of Glendale's coaching staff had already been Rookie Rugby certified; but Anderson says that now, with 40 additional people trained, they will be better equipped to expand youth development throughout the Denver Metro area and beyond. “If the Glendale Raptors can help in any way shape or form to get more kids playing rugby in Colorado and in the United States, then we're up for it - whether they end up playing for our clubs or not, we want to build players who could eventually be part of the 2016 Olympic Rugby Team.”
Jenna Anderson says that with more people from the Raptors’ ranks qualified to officiate over youth rugby play, Glendale can continue the growth of the Youth Rugby Program at Infinity Park and expand their game development in the community. “The Raptors have been doing a lot of volunteer work in the community, where they are often working with kids outside of what we offer in our youth programs here.” She goes on. “Now the players who sign up for those community service events are up to date on teaching the correct and safe rules for non-contact rugby.”
That volunteer work is part of the Raptors’ ongoing commitment to work in the community with a non-profit organization every month of 2011. Not all of the community service groups have involved spending time with youth, but the Raptors have volunteered to work with Big Brothers Big Sisters, the National Sports Center for the Disabled and other organizations serving youth in the community.
According to Anderson, Kurt Weaver’s Rookie Rugby instruction offered more than just technical training. “Players who know the game well, but don't have youth coaching experience, need to learn how to communicate with kids.” She explains. “Kurt taught us how to explain the game to kids - keeping it simple so as not to confuse them - and also emphasized the importance of keeping the game fun by keeping them moving and enjoying themselves while playing with the rugby ball.”
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