Elite coach Allan Gaffney is playing a key role in mentoring coaches
Elite coach Allan Gaffney is playing a key role in mentoring coaches

The ARU Performance Coach Program is an Australia Rugby initiative that’s set to develop the next generation of coaches with 26 invitees from right across the country who recently attended a four-day camp in Sydney.

The camp featuring as stage one of a 12 month intensive program that includes coach profiling, online learning through the University of Queensland as well as individualised applied coaching and leadership tasks.

Elite coach Alan Gaffney plays a key role in mentoring aspiring elite coaches and recently presented at the national performance Coach Course (Level Three) camp, that included 26 invited coaches from around the country.

This high level program aims to identify coaches from 1st grade premier and above and help them to ultimately move up in the pathway, towards being a performance coach across state based 15s and 7s programs, NRC, Super Rugby or national pathway programs.

Over 12 months, the hand-picked coaches undergo a number of tasks in order to gain their Level Three coaching qualification.

Gaffney said the biggest thing they could gain out of the program was the ability to keep evolving.

“There’s nothing wrong with structure and there’s nothing right or wrong about what the coaches really do,” he said.

“But we’ve got to still maintain the Australian way of playing and that’s allowing people to look up and see what’s there and play. Coaches across the pathway play a critical role in this development.

“They’ve (the coaches) all got talent, otherwise they wouldn’t have been invited to this Performance Coach course and they’ve all got the ability of taking these players to a new level.

“We’ve just got to encourage them to expand their vision, to not have tunnel vision in their view, to have a wider idea of the way the game is to be played and just to throw up different thoughts. We want to develop a culture of collaboration and challenge these coaches.

Gaffney said there was rarely a black and white answer when it came to the right way of coaching.

“I don’t profess to know anything near it all, but I'm’ still more than amenable to listen to people and new ideas,” he said.

“I’m happy to listen to guys in there but similarly they’ve got to open their eyes up and their ears and understand there are different ways of playing the game.”

ARU Coaching Development Manager - Jayson Brewer, said the launch of a new Rugby Learning Centre would be critical in helping coaches become accredited, educated as well creating their own learning pathway post course attendance.

“It’s an exciting time for Australian Rugby in terms of coach development and match official development,” he said.

Regardless of where coaches are based, they will be able to access key national philosophies, competencies and messages about coaching as part of this learning centre.

Once they have made it through the level of accreditation they require, the Rugby Learning Centre allows them access to other informal Coach development learning, including Gaffney’s masterclasses to the Level Three coaches.

“In regards to Smart Rugby, there’ll be a transition from a program that’s traditionally been on field, to now being an online module, giving coaches access to a variety of resources,” he said.

“During camp an attack masterclass with Alan Gaffney, ARU elite coach was a highlight, and now all people involved in our great game will have access through a variety of resources and learning opportunities as well.

“All across Australia we have large numbers of accredited coaches, once they’ve finished their desired level of accreditation, we are also offering informal education as part of our newly created Continued Professional Development (CPD) Model of blended learning to be introduced in 2016. In the last 18 months the ARU Coach Development team has also integrated a new Coaching Framework across all levels of the game.

“A key element of the Rugby Learning Centre is the ability for Coaches to be responsible for their own level of learning across the player pathway.

“The ARU Rugby Learning Centre and the new Coach CPD model will be launched in the coming weeks”

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