Following a review of Leinster Rugby’s coach education offerings this time last year, a commitment was undertaken to update the coach development programme to reflect best practice.

The figures in the 12 months following the review show a vibrant and comprehensive programme that is well on the way to providing high quality and appropriately qualified coaches for every rugby player within the 12 counties.

The IRFU Mini Rugby Coaching Course was divided into two, where coaches of Mini 1 players (players aged U6 to U8) now need to only attend the Introduction to Mini Rugby Coaching Course. This is a one-day coaching course and 12 separate courses were run throughout the province with 320 coaches completing the training – an average of almost six coaches for every club that has a mini rugby section.

Coaches of Mini 2 (players aged U9 to U10) or Mini 3/4 players (players aged U11/U12) now complete both the Introduction to Mini Rugby Coaching Course and a three-hour Stage 1 course. Nine stage 1 courses were run with 105 coaches achieving the qualification this season.

The Stage 2 Coaching Course is for coaches who are introducing players (aged U13 to U15) to the 15-a-side game, with 185 coaches completing this qualification by attending one of six courses offered throughout Leinster. A further two Stage 2 courses took place this May with 65 coaches completing the course this summer.

The Stage 3 Coaching Courses are for coaches working with players aged U16 to junior adult level and took place last summer. For the first time, two courses took place in Maynooth University before the final course in August in IT Carlow, with 115 coaches attending the three courses. They then went on to complete their further accreditation requirements including logging coaching hours and completing a coaching observation with the support of the Leinster Rugby Coach Development Officers.

Leinster Rugby returned to Maynooth University last month when another 35 coaches completed the two full days. Further courses have been scheduled for IT Blanchardstown later this month and IT Carlow in August.

For the coming 2018/19 season, the following coaching courses are scheduled for club and school coaches:

  • 11 x Introduction to Mini Rugby Coaching Curses
  • 8 x Stage 1 Coaching Courses
  • 5 x Stage 2 Coaching Courses
  • 3 x Stage 3 Coaching Courses

Outside of the formal coaching qualifications, the Coach Development staff at Leinster Rugby has begun to implement a more blended approach to coach development.

Coaching Communities of Practice have been established in the Midlands, the North Midlands and the South East areas. A programme of professional development workshops focused on a Game-Based Approach have been run in three regional centres, with 95 coaches taking part.

The innovative Women in Coaching mentoring programme took place throughout the 2017/18 season, the first coach development webinar was held last November and Leinster Rugby continues to work in collaboration with St Mary’s University to provide professional development initiatives for Stage 4 school and club coaches.

To find your local Coach Development Officer, to find out more information on the range of coach development offerings, or to book a coaching course, please visit leinsterrugby.ie/coachingcourses.