Coaches from Ballinrobe, Castlebar and Sligo look on at the Connacht senior team session last week along with Coach Development Officer Gavin Foley.
Connacht Rugby's Coach Development Department have embarked on a new initiative of inviting grassroots club and schools coaches to observe the Connacht senior team sessions at The Sportsground.
Facilitated by their regional Coach Development Officers, coaches from youth and adult teams have been spending a day with the Connacht team as they go through their unit and team training on match weeks.
Such is the belief in the importance of grassroots coaching to the success of Connacht Rugby, Head Coach Pat Lam and Assistant Coaches Jimmy Duffy and Conor McPhillips have not only opened up their sessions but spend time after each session outlining the technical and tactical aspects they are working on and how it relates to the upcoming opposition.
Eamonn Molloy, Connacht Rugby’s Coach Development Manager, has spearheaded this initiative that goes beyond the traditional methods of coach education and development, and is delighted to see the coaches reaping the benefits.
"We have a unique environment where our coaches share their knowledge for the greater good,” says Molloy. “While the professional team play at a higher speed and intensity, the club coaches have observed that the tactical and technical skills are very similar. What has been most gratifying is how invigorated the coaches have been returning to their clubs and schools."
Jason Keane (Castlebar RFC) was one of the coaches that observed training ahead of last weekend’s Guinness PRO12 victory away to Cardiff Blues and he felt the exercise was extremely beneficial.
Keane said: "Pat and Jimmy’s willingness to interact and answer questions from us was a great learning curve for all the coaches who were there.
“It was an unbelievable experience and I personally learned an awful lot.”
For more information on this initiative, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.