Last Saturday saw Claremorris Colts host Creggs RFC in a Silent Sidelines mini blitz at the Convent pitches.
 
With clapping and applause for good play the only distraction, the young players could focus on playing and enjoying their matches and their reactions highlighted the benefits of the initiative:
 
“It was good cos the parents couldn’t say anything, there was more chat from the players, it was different, good different!”
 
“We could hear each other which was good, sometimes it’s hard to hear each other with the shouting”
 
“It was a good match, very challenging, they’re a good team – there was no shouting so we were talking to each other… it was a bit weird but easier”
 
Speaking about the activities, Chairperson of Spirit in Connacht, Kevin O’Malley said: “We’re delighted with the way the blitz has turned out, talking to parents and coaches on the sidelines it’s clear that, though the majority found it unusual, they embraced the concept and the reactions from the players says it all.”
 
“This season we have embarked on a number of initiatives to raise awareness of the values of rugby and this Silent Sidelines blitz helps us to highlight two of the most fundamental core values, respect and fun, and both were evident in abundance today!”
 

 

The inaugural Spirit of Rugby conference took place in Aviva Stadium last Sunday with over 200 club members engaging with a panel of experts on the theme of ‘Let Them Play’ – focusing on ensuring a fun and safe environment as our young players take their first steps in the game.
 
Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt opened the conference with some of his own experiences as a teacher and how he tries to focus on people not players.
 

 
Attendees also heard from IRFU Director of Medical Dr Rod McLoughlin, who delivered a talk on ‘Putting Player Physical Welfare at the Centre of Age-Grade Rugby’.
 
Senior Clinical Psychologist Dr. Paul Gaffney spoke about the ‘Role of the Coach in creating Player-Centred Environment’.
 


Dr. Anne Marie Waldron, who is a Clinical Director with the HSE’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, delivered a module on ‘How to ensure Rugby positively contributes to your Player’s Emotional Being’
 
The keynote address was delivered by ‘Changing The Game’ Project Founder John O’Sullivan whose topic was ‘How Adults can contribute to Creating and Maintaining Player-Centred Environment in Age-Grade Rugby’.

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