Glendale Coaches Corner

Glendale Merlins Rugby

Glendale’s Coaching Clinic a Success on All Fronts

by | Jun 26, 2018 | Coaches Corner

As told by Director of Rugby Mark Bullock

Coaches Blog, Glendale Rugby Date 6.15.18, the location – Glendale Rugby Offices

There is no doubt that this is a big weekend for the Glendale RFC. Tonight, we look to host 18 area coaches at a welcome reception in which I will make a short presentation on building a legacy, “15 lessons in Leadership.” We have a catered pasta dinner ready for delivery and five of our local professional Raptors players scheduled to arrive at 6 p.m. We are very excited that we have several local Colorado coaches registered, but also several coaches from neighboring states like Nebraska, Kansas and as far away as DeSmet Jesuit High School in St. Louis, Mo. It’s also interesting to see the various levels of coaching experience in the group. Most have been involved in some form of rugby for more than 10 years, but there are also some whom are reasonably new to the game or just returning to the game as a coach. It’s nice to see that this course can appeal to so many and we really hope that regardless of their experience or current coaching level, that everyone will leave this clinic feeling like they received a great value.

Glendale's Coaching Clinic

Photo by Justin Purdy

Coaches Blog, Glendale Rugby Date 6.16.18, the location – Glendale’s Infinity Park Event Center

Today is a busy one. Kicking off at 9 a.m., we first heard from the Raptors Head Coach David Williams, who was presenting on our attack pattern, the 1-3-3-1. Next, it was onto the set piece where the Raptors assistant coach, Kieran Browner, and the Merlins WPL and DI Men’s Head Coach, Luke Gross, both presented on their various areas of expertise: Browner – the lineout and Gross – the scrum. This session allowed for attendees to get up and get actively engaged with the lessons and we even had several members of Glendale’s Women’s Premier League team available to showcase some practice drills. The group stayed outside to then hear from our new Raptors skills coach and Academy coach, Duncan James. There was a ton of information thrown at these coaches, and we realized very quickly there is only so much note taking that could be had, so we decided to video tape all the sessions and then send them out following the event.

Lunch was amazing (I think we found our new box-lunch caterer in Darcy’s Pub), and then it was back to the grind with lessons on the tackle, the tackle contest, defensive systems, mental skills and injury prevention. Towards the end of the day, you could feel the anticipation mounting for the final home match of the season, the top-ranked Glendale Raptors vs. the second-ranked Seattle Seawolves. The whole stadium was abuzz with activity, between the stadium operations people finalizing last details, the fan zone’s vendors organizing their activities and the team’s players and coaches filtering in to start their pre-match routines.

There was just a bit of time to talk and socialize with some of our clinic attendees in the Try Club and see what their initial impressions were regarding the clinic. Then it was GAME TIME, and another key opportunity for the coaches to really see what they had just learned. The Coaches are to gather with Luke Gross in the Coaches Corner for kick-off! Luke is in charge of talking with the coaches throughout the match and having them pick out the systems they can see working well and those that aren’t. Then at halftime, the group will analyze what changes they would make for the second half. Hosting the coaching clinic to coincide with an MLR match is a great advantage for these coaches, as it provides everyone with some time to watch what they had just learned in an actual game scenario. We hope it proves to be a good game!

Glendale's Coaching Clinic

Photo by Justin Purdy

Coaches Blog, Glendale Rugby Date 6.21.18, the location – Back in the Glendale Rugby Offices

Well, the Raptors remained undefeated, beating the Seawolves handedly, 33-11, which was great for us as an organization, but also the guest coaches who were in attendance! Spirits run high after a victory like that and the coaches were really able to see our systems in action and working against some of the best competition in the MLR.

We have now received several responses on our coaches clinic survey and have had some great constructive feedback. Andy Stewart, one of four coaches who attended the clinic from the Kansas Jayhawks Rugby Football Club, mentioned that the clinic gave them plenty of information to digest as they head towards their next season. 

“The caliber of instruction was excellent, as well as the breadth of information and topics covered,” Stewart added.

Many others concurred with Stewart and added they hoped there were more clinics in the future, so that more coaches can take advantage of an opportunity like this. As the Director of Rugby at Glendale, this is the best thing I could hear. Not only are we focused on making our club better, but we are all very invested in making the game of rugby better as a whole and we can’t wait to see this rugby knowledge trickle down through various clubs across the country. I speak for everyone on our staff when I say we can’t wait to build upon this clinic and schedule more of these in the future.