Vancouver, BC – January 30, 2019: In the spirit of broadening rugby minds and challenging traditional behaviours, UBC’s Men’s players took part in a training session with Rugby League coaches and players this week. The Thunderbirds training session was open to others and attended by other coaches and player from the surrounding area.
The decision to run the alternative training session is very much in keeping with the theme of challenging existing norms, a topic that was very prevalent at the recent BC Rugby Conference. Over that weekend, coaches from across the province were invited to consider alternative ways to make training sessions more engaging and challenge players to expand their “rugby minds”. But as UBC Head Coach Curry Hitchborn points out, for his players at least, this session was far from a one-off gimmick. “Seven of our guys have represented Canadian Rugby League at the National level as youth players, so there is actually a degree of existing knowledge and experience as far as Rugby League goes”.
It was a well-attended session under the floodlights at the UBC campus, with dozens of young rugby players listening attentively to the experienced Rugby League coaches – Ben Hickey, Alec Douglas, Didier Banse & Taurean Sheehan. To their credit, they adopted the change of codes without batting an eyelid, getting on with the business of the drills that were set.
“Last night was all about exposure to new skills, new ideas and different voices,” said Hitchbordn, “There is so much to take away from Rugby League that will only strengthen our guys that play union. Furthermore, it’s rugby.” And there is the crux. Whether it is Rugby League, Sevens, Touch, XVs or any other variation therein, young players everywhere can benefit from more exposure to more rugby ideas. It might teach them to become more adaptable on the field of play, explain a common concept in a new manner or just show the same game through a different lens. Ultimately, disrupting the norm might create a breakthrough moment in a player’s understanding of the game as a whole or even just their own ability.
“We will certainly have the team from BC Rugby League and Canada Rugby League back as a group. Their staff were knowledgeable, engaging and incredibly professional. For us, it’s a no brainer” commented Hitchborn.
Does your club have any plans to shake up the way they train? We would love to hear about it and share your story. Contact Euan McGhee – firstname.lastname@example.org – with any tales from the training fields. Alternatively, if you would like to speak to someone about how to make a change in your coaching approach, get in touch with BC Rugby’s Head of Growth and Development, Tony La Carte – email@example.com
Thanks to Curry Hitchborn, UBC Rugby, BC Rugby League and Canada Rugby League for inviting us to be part of this session.