This past weekend was another big Coach Development Program weekend. Nearly 80 coaches converged on Washington DC, and I got to see all sorts of coaches work their craft.
One of the staples in every coaches tool kit is the "around the corner" drills. You know, there is a big grid, the players stand in two lines on on edge of the grid, defense hands the ball to offense, and the players run round their respective corners.
This format is used for 2 v 1, 3 v 2, etc etc etc.
As i watched, and even took my turn coaching some round the corner stuff, I started to wonder if maybe there are some fundamental flaws with the format. Bear in mind that this is only MY humble opinion ...
First, lets take a picture of the standard "around the corner" setup.
1. A (attacker) and D (defenders) are typically lined up waiting for their turn at the activity. This particular vantage point is not conducive to observing the activity in progress. A better observation point might be the "try zones". From here players can see the impact that varying angles of run have with greater clarity.
2. Right to left - left to right. It is way to easy to let all the work happen from only one side. In other words, if the coach doesn't make a conscious effort to flip flop the players, you'll always have everyone passing off of the same hand and tackling off the same shoulder.
3. Defense hands the ball to the Attackers. I just don't like this, MENTALLY. Seriously, I know its just a convenient and easy way to start the exercise, but when does defense every hand the ball to offense? I like offense to get the balls, and be completely responsible for that. Just my preference.
4. Pinning the defender(s) vs Moving the defender (s).
Normally, when this is coached, we tell the initial ball carrier (A1) to run at the defenders inside shoulder, and pin him. That's all well and good, but short of an effective dummy pass, the ball carrier is no longer a serious threat to beat the defender running because they have not created any space. In fact, when we coach the exercise this way, if the initial ball carrier is late to pass, its almost effortless for the defender to push them out of bounds. Really, would we ever coach a ball carrier to run THAT CLOSE to the sidelines if they didn't really need to?
5. For the support player, this is painfully predictable. In this scenario, the second attacker (A2) nearly ALWAYS winds up receiving a lateral pass wide. There's no real decision here, no creativity. The support player is involved only in execution - they don't have to make any decisions, just catch the ball. It becomes, after a while, pretty robotic.
Here's one easy way to open up the basic 2 v 1 a little bit:
1. Instead of lining players up and having them go "round the corner", have them enter the grid through the tryzones. It's a better place for observing the activity, and it gives them a view of the space that is alot closer to what they'll see during a rugby match.
2. Entering from the tryzone allows the ball carrier a whole range of options. They can work on their 1 v 1 running skills and actually work to MOVE a defender, rather than just PIN a defender. They might even beat a defender.
3. With the Attacker's options opened up, the support player has to make decisions. Vertical support? Lateral support left? Lateral support right? Close? Far?
4. With two players now making decisions and using all the available space, the defender is challenged. Should they pressure, or be patient? Left shoulder or right shoulder? Maybe they should get in the passing lane?
Another variation on the standard 2 v 1 involves the coach, or possibly an injured player, putting the ball into the grid. This way you introduce a handling element (it could be a tossed high ball, or a ball let loose on the ground), and varies the space and time that both the offense and defense have to make their decisions. If you have new players who need more time to process, you can give them the ball way back in the tryzone. Want to challenge a more experienced player? Have them field a loose ball much closer to the defender.
Now, my FAVORITE way to train 2 v 1 is with something I refer to as a continuous game. I LOVE continuous games. It's my #1 practice tool.
First, you divide the players into two even groups - in the illustration below, there's a RED team and a BLUE team. Each team is assigned an end to defend. A coach or other facilitor acts as a referee. Instead if discrete repetitions, the teams take turns running 2 v 1s, with the referee managing and keeping score. It's important not to overcoach, and to just let them play. The defense doesn't wait for the offense to go, and the offense doesn't wait for anyone to hand them the ball. When the opportunity to attack is there, advantage is gained by doing so quickly.
What I love about this format is that it becomes COMPETITIVE. Players learn all sorts of things. They learn that, if the defense is snoozing, they can race to the corner for a try. They learn that if they get overzealous and take off without support, they can turn over the ball. The take chances when they have space, and yes, sometimes they panic. Most important of all, they learn to communicate with eachother, and they have a lot of fun.
How it might start (if RED starts on defense and BLUE on offense)
As soon as a try is scored, or some infraction occurs, BLUE goes on Defense, and RED on offense . The players who just finished politely exit the grid and return to their teams for whatever role they will take next.
And so on, and so on, and so on. If you want to work on contact skills, reduce the size of the grid and the number of participants. Want to work on moving the ball wide? Make a big wide grid. I like playing continuous 3 v 5 and continuous 5 v 8. You can alter the rules, the grid, and the number of players to focus on whatever you like. It's a great way to get a lot of people working at a high intensity, and lots of fun.
That's what its all about, right?
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
This past weekend was another big Coach Development Program weekend. Nearly 80 coaches converged on Washington DC, and I got to see all sorts of coaches work their craft.
The primary goal of this clinic is to help teach and develop the individual core rugby skills through position-specific instruction. Players shall be exposed to new drills and techniques and will have the exciting opportunity to work one on one with some of today’s elite, US National Women’s team players.
Tight Five: will work on scrums and lineout techniques, such as lifting from the legs and front row binding.
Back Row: will work on both set pieces and game breakdown situations, reviewing angles of running, roles and responsibilities, etc… both from an offensive and defensive mindset.
Scrumhalves and Flyhalves: will specifically focus on various passing and kicking techniques, as well as reviewing situational decision making.
Centers: will work on creation of space, patterns of play and offensive and defensive alignment.
Fullbacks and Wings: will also work on passing and kicking as well as reviewing key techniques such as counter attacks, creation of space, patterns of play and both offensive and defensive alignment.
The New York Women are currently #1 in the nation and have been a nationally ranked team since 1998. NYRC is the home club for more than 15 women who play on the Women’s National Team (WNT), as well as several players who have represented the USA on the National 7’s Team. These players, along with other top New York players, will be at the clinic to share their experiences and strategies. The overall structure of the clinic will be supervised by the NYRC coaching staff, Drew Fautley and Chris “Pudge” Ryan. Both coaches are also part of the US National Team coaching staff.
Contact Katie MacCallum before March 10th to hold your spot. Please provide names, school, positions and years playing rugby for every participant. All participants should have insurance information and be prepared to sign a waiver the day of the tournament. Payment can be cash or a check to NYRC on the day of the clinic. Katie can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by cell phone at 413-219-5142.
What to Bring: Cleats, mouth guard, and rugby jersey. Bring personal water, lunch, tape, power bars, etc as needed. EVERYONE MUST HAVE A GOVERNMENT ISSUED PHOTO ID TO PRESENT AT THE SECURITY GATE TO ENTER. IF YOU ARE DRIVING, BRING LICENSE AND REGISTRATION.
Save this number: Check the New York Women’s Hotline for any questions regarding changes due to weather. 212-332-9911 and www.newyorkrugby.com.
The Field: Located at West Point Military Academy, Anderson Field.
From Hartford, Waterbury and points North or West:
Take I-84 W to I-684 S via exit 20. Take route 35 exit (exit 6) toward Cross River. Follow signs for NY-35 until Bear Mountain State Parkway. Turn right onto route 9W North. Enter next roundabout and take 1st exit onto US-202 W / US-6 W. Enter Bear Mountain Traffic Circle and take 2nd exit onto US-9W N (West Point, Highland Falls exit).
From New York City and points South:
From I-87 East, Take Exit 13N onto the Palisades Interstate Parkway heading North. Take the Palisades North to its end at the Bear Mountain traffic circle. Follow signs for route 9W North (3rd exit off traffic circle). Take the first West Point, Highland Falls exit.
From Boston and points Northeast:
From I-90/ Mass Pike, merge onto I-84 W via exit 9. Merge onto CT-15 S via EXIT 57 on the LEFT toward I-91 South. Merge onto I-91 S via EXIT 86 toward NEW HAVEN. Merge onto I-691 W via EXIT 18 toward MERIDEN / WATERBURY. Follow directions from Hartford, above.
Then, from the West Point, Highland Falls Exit:
This will lead you into Highland Falls, past the visitors center and museum, and through Thayer Gate.
Enter Thayer Gate. Security is tight. Have valid ID, all vehicle registration papers, and be advised that your vehicle may be searched upon entry.
Once thru the gate, continue straight. Thayer Road will turn into Cullum Road and after you pass the academic buildings and the statue of Kosciuzko (on your right).
Continue along Cullum Road until the first intersection, and take a right.
Continue on this road down the hill, staying to the left. You should pass up a small stadium.
Once you reach the water, take a left and continue down the road past the water treatment facility and athletic fields until you reach Anderson Field at the end of the road.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
While trolling youtube, I came across a series of videos posted by a coach that (it seems) is part Canada, part Chicago ...
Largely these illustrate a wide variety of warmup type drills. I've included a couple, if you want to see the rest, visit youtube and subscribe to jclchicago.
The ball handling ones are fine, but I'm not sure about the defensive footwork illustrations. Maybe spending so much time with the Footwork Camp crew I've been come hyper-critical of that word :) .
What I am certain of is that it's awesome seeing this on youtube, especially illustrated by women!
Ball Handling Patterns
Two Handed Pickup
One Handed Pickup
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Recently events in my professional life have led me to seek new employment, and I need to be able to explain to my employer, as I exit, WHY . I could just say "better pay, more challenging work, good opportunities", but that doesn't capture the emotion . I realized as I pondered this that the issue at hand is reflected in other aspects of my life, and in the lives of others around me. Especially in rugby related aspects ..
Here's what it comes down to. No matter how old we are biologically, we all still resemble children in that we're constantly growing and changing as a result of our experiences. Let's imagine that that growth could be measured by the size of our feet.
When you start a new job, you and your employer look for a fit. Like a good pair of shoes, the job needs to be right for you and you for the job. The skills required shouldn't be less that what you are capable of, in fact they should probably be a little more. Basically the shoes should fit, and they should leave room for you to grow. In exchange for nicely fitted shoes, you make an agreement with the employer to do all your walking and running for their company.
There's a breaking in period, and before long those shoes fit like a glove! Things are perfect. But, as you grow they start to get snug. That's about the time you start itching for a promotion. For bigger shoes. If you don't grow, and lets face it, plenty of people don't - you could wear those same shoes for a pretty long time. But if you do grow, eventually the shoes are going to get really tight.
Ever walk long distances in a pair of shoes that were too small? Or run? It hurts like hell. The smaller they are, the more it hurts! Walk enough, and those shoes dig and rub and cut you. Owwww! Sure, you can walk across the street or around the block, but after awhile your feet just can't take the punishment. When this happens, you need a new pair of shoes, and you are even more insistent that those shoes have room for you to grow.
On the flip side - you might get a pair of shoes that's too big? Ever try to walk or run in shoes that are too big for you? You can get hurt! Trip on your feet! Fall Down! Disaster! Sure, maybe you'll grow into them, but if you keep getting hurt trying to run in those big shoes, eventually someone is going to take them away from you - for your own good as well as the company's.
Sometimes you'll change shoes. One day you might be in hiking boots, tennis shoes, the next, flats, or maybe heels. We all have more than one pair of shoes in our closets. The one thing they have in common is that they all FIT.
Bottom line, if your employer isn't keeping you in the right shoes, eventually you'll stop running for them.
Now in my situation I'm certainly not saying that "the man is keeping me down". It's not that at all. The reality is that all the big shoes are filled, and there's no likelihood of them being vacated any time soon. To further complicate things, there are others at my level in the same situation as me. The store, shall we say, is flat out of my size, the waiting list is long, my feet hurt, so I chose to shop somewhere else.
Same goes for our relationships, as coaches, with players. We can't ask a player who's never been exposed to weight training to suddenly step in at lock for the A side at a National Championship game, and you can't just throw the brand new rookie into the spot vacated by an Eagle and expect brilliance. I think for the most part we all do a pretty good job managing this side of it.
But how about the opposite? How many of you (be honest, seriously) have internally laughed when a player came to you asking to try place kicking, wanting to run quick-tap penalties, asking for a bigger leadership role, or wanting to play a new position? If you listen carefully, what they are really telling you is "coach, my shoes don't quite fit".
The PCA (positive coaching alliance) refers to this particular issue as "the Just Right Challenge". In order to keep players growing, we need to always challenge them to the next rung. It should be close enough to reach with a stretch or a jump, but far enough away that real work is required to get there. For most players the incentive to reach that rung is playing time on a higher level squad. B to A, A to Select Side, Select Side to USA. Challenging the player is only one part - we need to be willing to reward ...
So what do you do, as a coach, when you just don't have enough empty shoes? Imagine that you inherited a brilliant U-23 player, but you already have a brilliant senior player in that position? How much risk with selections can a coach take in order to make the reward for the challenge tantalizing enough? How to you manage the sizes of all these shoes? One thing I've learned for sure .. that brilliant U-23 player playing behind a brilliant senior player will find a new team if you (we) don't manage the situation right. And that new team will probably have some big shoes waiting for her.
This whole shoe things applies to coaches too. The team, metaphorically, becomes your shoes. If you go out there with your big feet, thinking your going to change the world and win nationals, and have a 3 year plan, bla bla bla, and your team is the local D3 drinking team that just needs a coach on the book for compliance purposes, you're big giant feet are gonna hurt bad. Vice versa, if you've been coaching for only a year and have limited knowledge or experience with the game, and you manage to sell yourself to the local super league team, things will get ugly fast when that team's giant shoes trip up you and your tiny feet.
That's it - sometimes its not about a good coach or a bad coach, good job or bad job. Its just about the fit.
Sidebar: Did you know that kids who grow up in countries that don't wear shoes have the healthiest feet of all?
Friday, January 19, 2007
I bet you think this is a rugby related post .... it's NOT!!!
I'm my non-rugby life I'm an information architect. And, starting mid-February, I'll be an information architect for a company with offices in Northern Ireland. Better still, I get to go there. I get to go there right away! After my initial trip it's going to be an "as needed" sort of thing, so shouldn't impact my current rugby endeavors.
So just like any modern age woman, I've been googling like mad. I want to know about Northern Ireland! My new company is based in Craigavon, which is a couple of hours southwest of Belfast. It's in the province of Ulster, and I KNOW there is rugby in Ulster.
Northern Ireland is actually part of Great Britain (along with England, Scotland, and Wales), while Ireland is a separately identified country. What I found interesting is that for the most part, athletes living in Northern Ireland can choose whether to represent Great Britain or Ireland in international sporting events. Of course in rugby, England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales are ALL treated as separate countries. When the British and Irish Lions play they meld into one, but only then!
If there are any readers from those parts, drop me a line! I've love to watch some local rugby and see how things are done on the other side. Even better, how bout a Six Nations game? Anyone know how to get tickets to one of those?
So I'm super excited about my new job. My current job is OK - there are terrificly talented people here, but professionally this opportunity has it all. It's a step up in terms of responsibility, salary, etc, and I GET TO GO TO IRELAND.
Brilliant! Bring forth the Guinness!
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
This just in from the women's seven's program ...
The holidays are past, and so is their disruptive influence on one’s rugby
priorities…so, let’s talk!
The coaching and management of the US7s team are very excited about the
initiation of the Booster Club. Because of our delayed start this fall, the
holidays, and some bureaucratic hurdles we didn’t realize we would need to
jump, we aren’t able to offer all of the activities we were hoping for at
the San Diego Tournament. BUT there is still fun to be had and some central
coordination for it. I am your contact pre-San Diego, and Sheri Hunt will
be on the ground there for any last minute questions.
If you are going to the tournament, we have reserved a block of rooms at the
team hotel, the Holiday Inn. If you would like to stay with like-minded
folk, please use the contact info below and tell them you are reserving
through the US7s International Women's
Rugby Booster Club.
SAN DIEGO-ZOO AREA
595 HOTEL CIRCLE SOUTH
SAN DIEGO, CA 92108
Reservations: 1-800-287-0037 OR (619) 291-5720
As far as activities go, there will be a get-together on Friday evening,
February 9th, in the Holiday Inn bar/lobby area from 6-8. It looks as
though the coaching and management staff of the team will be able to make an
appearance. If you are a booster club member you’ll get a drink coupon at
the social—see Sheri on site!
There will be an opportunity at both the tournament and the social to
register for the Booster Club. However, if you are not able to go to the
tournament, don’t despair! In the nature of 7s, the more the merrier, and I
am happy to oblige and register you via e- or snail-mail. All members will
be included in emails regarding team events, tournaments, results, and any
special opportunities to be involved with the team. Any level of financial
participation is welcome. If you are able to contribute more, this is what
you can expect from your annual dues:
$100—a US Women’s 7s t-shirt
$250—the t-shirt plus a US Women’s 7s back pack
$500 or more—both of the above plus a team jersey
It’s our goal to have as many people on the Booster Club roster as possible
by the San Diego tournament. We’ll send you a rugby ball keychain if you’re
on the list by then. If you are still recovering financially from the
holidays, though, Hong Kong is coming up this spring and the team will have
large expenses for that tournament, too, so it’s never too late!
If you are ready to get on board, send your name, email, and snail mail
address to email@example.com, or call 508-662-5875. Send checks
payable to USA Rugby, with US Women’s 7s on the memo line, to me at:
90 Concord Road
Marlborough, MA 01752.
If you have any questions, use the above contact information. Thanks, and
the team says thanks, too. Feel free to forward this to others who may be
PS Feel free to forward this to others who may be interested.
Yes, this is one of those things that is too ridiculous not to share.
Monday, January 15, 2007
So, this weekend was the Footwork Camp in Philadelphia. Julie McCoy, Sean Ross and Ellie Karvoski came out from Little Rock Arkansas. Drew from NY was a late addition to the camp staff.
My role in the whole this is a technical/business/media one - I build the website, set up credit card payment, and basically handled the overall logistics. Also I take picture. Angie Marfisi, recent Philly WRFC captain and now an employee at LaSalle University set us up with a SWEET arrangement at LaSalle. One of my former players, who's now with Philly, filmed the weight and agility portions (thanks Tunny!) so hopefully I can get a couple of clips up. We did the weight training portion in the fancy fitness center, used the football stadium (with well-drained turf surface) for the outdoor portion, and used the pole vaulting pads for the tackling segment.
My biggest concern was weather, and boy were we lucky. It could have been a zillion below zero, instead it was 50ish all weekend. The forecast called for rain, but miraculously, we were mostly dry, just a little drizzle.
There were 27 total participants for the weekend, and it was a full weekend. We had players from Boston, Albany, DC, Lancaster, NY, and of course Philadelphia. We even had a player from Northern Iowa! The players were of a variety of skill levels - 6 college players and a mix of DI and DII Club players. There were also a couple of coaches in attendance which I think is an awesome thing.
This is the second Footwork Camp I've been to, and I've know Jules now for many years. We played with each other on the West back when there were only 4 territories, then she coached the West when I was a player, and we also coached against each other from time to time when she was with the Ozark Ladies and I was with Colorado Springs She-Wolves. Over the years she's really refined her coaching "product" and it's thrilling to see that she has attained so much.
For me, the biggest takeaway is the application of exercise science and bio-mechanics to every single thing you do on the field. It is impossible to leave this camp without know that, for example, if you want to be more evasive, you need to work on your single legged exercises. If you want to be a better tackler, jump squats will help you. Keep getting outflanked in defense? Bring out the bands.
Etc, etc, etc. You as an individual player leave with the specific tools to improve your game. Not just a garden variety workout, but real tools. Once we got out on the pitch, it became clear how the specific lifts and agility exercise apply.
Second - is the empowerment of the ball carrier. Now, there are probably plenty of coaches who wouldn't agree with some of Jule's philosophy, and that's fine. The game is big enough for all of us, and for dozens of styles of play. What the players learn at the footwork camp is how to using running lines, superior biomechanics, and patience to create enormous gaps for themselves. They learn to conserve their support, and to minimize high and even medium risk passing.
Most of the times when I'm around coaches who choose to minimize the passing aspect of the game, its in favor of the contact game. This invariably creates rock-em-sock-em rugby (and sometimes you need rock-em-sock-em rugby). During the Footwork Camp, players learn to maximize their individual evasive running in such a way that the NEED to pass is minimized. And, as a result of improved running lines, when the pass DOES happen, its way more efficient and effective.
Anyway, I could write a whole lot more about the camp, the concepts, etc, but really the volume of information just way to huge so I'll leave it at that. It was definitly a learning weekend.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Since we're all sort of churning in place during the off season, I thought it would be interesting to find out where everyone would like to see personal improvement.
So, I added a quick poll to the right side-bar. Clearly it's not EVERY skill (and i left out decision making on purpose, because EVERY skill incorporates decision-making), but it's a start. From time to time I'll change the topic just to keep it interesting.
Be a sport and take the poll!
Saturday, January 06, 2007
From time to time I will probably jump on opportunities to related to rugby mathematically. I've always loved mathematics, and specifically I've always been awed by the ability of numbers to describe natural phenomena.
So - I just watched this indy film "Julie Johnson". It's about a stereotypical "poor white trash" woman, who has hidden talents. She reads Scientific American and a bevy of other science mags in secret, and eventually kicks out her husband so she can get her GED and go to college. There is of course a romantic storyline, but what intrigued me was the references the director makes to Chaos theory, and how it applies to human lives and experiences.
This isn't the first movie to do this. The Butterfly Effect did in 2004. Chaos theory, in summary, states that in certain non-linear systems,tiny, seemingly insignificant changes in one area result is massive changes somewhere else.
Let's see if we can't find applications of chaos theory in rugby.
Our team is attacking. We have a scrum on the left side of the pitch, 5 meters from the tryzone. Things look good for us, eh? A tight head wheel is on, and DUH, we're gonna run a back row move.
Keep that thought for a second.
Every player has what I'll refer to as "tolerances". A fly-half, for example, has among other things a "ball-catching tolerance" which varies from day to day, game to game. The vast majority of times, a given flyhalf, moving at a given pace, can catch a ball, moving at a given pace, in a certain area around the intended target area. If the pass TO the flyhalf is "out of tolerance", it is unlikely to be caught successfully.
So - lets pretend that a tiny thing happened. Our scrumhalf didn't put quite as much back spin on the ball as she usually does at the put in. As a result, when our hooker struck the ball, she did it one inch further out than she usually does. Instead of going straight through channel two (which was our plan), it bounced off the locks foot in an unpredicted way. The tight head wheel that was on (which we planned, because of where we were on the field) caused the ball to bounce around even more between the lock and the #8, eventually squirting out on the left side of the 8. The scrumhalf no longer has a solid weak side play.
She's a little flustered. IT happens, who can blame her? One minute, we're in a position to score an easy try. The next, CRAP!!! Suddenly the back row play to the weak side can't happen, the ball is loose, and she MUST do something. She scoops up the ball and moves it to our #10. And, since she's a bit flustered, under pressure from her opposite, the pass was just a smidge "out of tolerance".
Well, BECAUSE we did a tight head wheel on purpose, we put the opposite teams #7 much closer to our #10. By now, you're probably starting to see how what was a very good situation 10 seconds ago is turning ugly pretty quick.
Since we're in a 5 meter scrum situation, the defense's backline is as close to us as it's ever going to be. When the ball is not caught, they are all over us. Our fullback and weak side wing are up, because they were participating in the back row move. When the #7, #8, #9 and #10 turn over the ball and counter attack (as a result of our wheel they are in a great position to do so), they kick the ball way down field and the chase is on. We are F'd.
Chaos - a small, seemingly insignificant change in one area results in a large, very significant change in another.
The rugby related lesson? Our players need to always be prepared for change - we need to coach them to be cool in the head, and to make quick, smart decisions on the fly. We need to insure that our sub-units function as part of the larger TEAM. Scrum wheels, largely coached in the vacuum of forward play, have a massive impact on our back line's ability to attack successfully. Errors and events that seem insignificant to one player (the hooker who struck the ball an inch to wide) are catastrophic to others (the flyhalf who got gang-raped).
We are butterflies, flapping our wings all over the pitch. Every one of us - the team with the ball, the team without it, the referee who did or didn't hustle to see the play, the coach who shouted on the sidelines, the touch judge who sets and holds the mark - we are all butterflies. At any second something we do can change the tide of the game. Without the luxury of time-outs, free subs, line changes, huddles, and downs, we are at the mercy of the chaos.
The team that recognizes the chaos in action, and actively works with it, is likely to have and effectively use more possession than the team that sticks to a script. If we work WITH the chaos, instead of against it, we will be brilliant.
Friday, January 05, 2007
Hey all - as some of you know I've been working with Julie McCoy (WNT 7's Head Coach), and helping her publicize the Rugby Footwork Camps. She asked me to pass on this information - lots of exciting things are happening for Women's Rugby in this arena.
February 9th and 10th is USA 7's and the Womens National Team will be competing along with the men. If you want to attend the event in San Diego CA, you can stay at the same hotel as the team, be part of the boosters, and get right in the action.
The women are ramping up for their inclusion in the first ever 7's World Cup. It's a really big step. What's truly exciting is the level of support and endorsement that new CEO Kevin Roberts is giving the women. You can listen to the podcast via the USA Rugby website. When you listen to Kevin Roberts speak it's clear that he realizes what a treasure our Women's National Teams are, and that he wants to promote us to the fullest.
Listen a little closer, and do the math. USA Women at USA 7s > Women at 7's World Cup > Rugby at Olympics. Thrilling things on the horizon.
For more information, booking info, etc, visit the event website.
In related news we're all pretty excited in Philadelphia for the upcoming Rugby Footwork Camp. A portion of the participation fee goes to the Women's 7s program, which is on a roll after Dubai.
Good luck to our women in San Diego, if you can afford to make the trip it looks like it will be a great time!
All Blacks Coach Graham Henry talks about using the maul in open play and off lineouts to create attacking opportunities ... its a real interesting video with some graphic overlays and such. There's a distinction of a "thin" attacking maul, where the maul really resembles an arrow, and is used to penetrate, and the "rolling" maul, used to create overloads and suck in defenders.
Thursday, January 04, 2007
So before we jump back into rugby, I've got to blog about my awsome trip.
A group of 16 colorado-originated -rugby-related friends + 5 dogs and random drop-ins rented a house in Breckenridge for 4 days, and just enjoyed the outdoors and eachother's company.
It was great, and again reminds me of how much I've personally gotten from this sport, how much I really love those people, and how lucky I am to have them in my life (awwww).
One day was skiling, the next day was shopping and night hiking , and Monday we went snow-mobiling. We tried to go tubing (despite all the snow in denver there was no fresh power in the mountains, so it would have been awesome tubing but not-as-great-skiing), but alas, we needed a reservation. So on a whim, we jumped on the last snowmobile trip of the day. WOW - it was totally worth it, and definitly the highlight of the trip.
If you've never been up above treeline - you've got to do it at least once in your life. In the summer it's spectacular - you get this feeling that you are on top of the world, and the views are just holy. But in winter .. its like being on another planet. Seriously - the terrain, the sky, everything is different than what you're use to. We went on a 2 hour trip, and once things got moving (Jamie and I dumped the snowmobile in like the first 5 minutes, yes, i was driving) it was pretty amazing.
Going at the end of the day was a lucky choice - we got to see the sunset from nearly 13,000 feet, which let me tell you, is something else. The location we went is up on the continental divide - the ridge of mountains that divide the western us and the eastern US (rivers flow one way on one side, the other on the other). The moon was out and the winds were calm. I'm of course attaching some photos.
Here's the weird part. About 2/3 of the way down, we stopped for some hot cocoa in a little warm-up shack. My friend Monica took some photos. She took a picture of Jamie and I, and was shocked by what she saw. She exclaimed - "you guys, there's something in this picture!!!". Then the snowmobil- tour-guy came along, and took a picture of four of us. My friend was still talking about the first photo, and had to take another of Jamie and I. She did, and wouldn't you know it, there was something in this one too.
Do you believe in the paranormal? I do ... I mean, not like the devil and casper and stuff like that, but certainly i've felt the presence of "other things" from time to time.
So here's the photos ... what do you think? Trick of lights, or something truly weird?
The first picture ...
The second picture
The third picture