Tackle a key area at clinic for coaches
More than 120 coaches from all stages of youth and mini rugby across the province gathered in Galway last Saturday for the Connacht Coaches Clinic, incorporating TackleSMART accreditation.
The event was hosted in the excellent facilities of Galway Community College, Moneenageisha and attendees were treated to an introduction from Connacht Rugby CEO Willie Ruane.
A presentation on the role of the coach from Connacht Rugby's club support manager Luke Murphy was followed by an open forum on the challenges faced by coaches which was facilitated by the IRFU's head of coach development Matthew Wilkie.
Connacht's coach development manager Eamonn Molloy then took the coaches through the innovative TackleSMART presentation before bringing the event out on to the pitch for a practical demonstration from coach development officers JP Walsh, Gavin Foley and Conor Galvin, assisted by young players from Galway Corinthians.
Following the demonstrations, each coach was invited to attend the Connacht v Bristol challenge match in the Sportsground, compliments of Connacht Rugby.
Speaking about the event, Molloy said: "This was a fantastic opportunity to get in front of the majority of our youth and mini coaches.
"Matt Wilkie's presentation drew out a number of challenges and work-ons that we can take on board, as well as highlighting some of the excellent work that's already been done by Connacht Rugby staff across the province.
"Luke's presentation set the coaches a personal challenge to incorporate the values of Irish Rugby into everything they do and we hope to see a positive change in the ethos of the game off the back of that."
Domestic rugby manager Joe Gorham wrapped up proceedings, and reflected on the day.
"One of the main reasons for today's TackleSMART presentation and accreditation was to increase the safety of our young rugby players through proper coaching techniques," he said.
"It is hoped that events such as this will go some way towards negating the unduly negative publicity that rugby has received in recent times.
"Everyone accepts that there are inherent risks taking part in any field sport and though there is little if any evidence that rugby is any more dangerous than other field sports in this country, the game has been tarnished with a reputation for serious injury, in particular concussion.
"This innovative coaching system will help reduce the number of injuries in the tackle area and go on to help develop the skills and capabilities of young rugby players across the province."