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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