Thursday, May 11, 2017

USA Rugby Encouraging Local Clubs to Host Assessment Camps

USA Rugby is giving the rugby community at large the opportunity to help identify future Eagles by allowing teams, clubs and unions the opportunity to one-day National Assessment Camps in 2017.

The camps will be part of the USA Rugby Academy program and put players on the radar of 15s and sevens programs.  What makes these upcoming camps special is the freedom that they'll give coaches as far as which talent pool to dip into. Normally, people hear about collegiate and upper level camps. With USA Rugby's announcement, those putting on an event can identify talent at any level, from youth on up to the big kids on the college and senior club scenes.

Aside from bringing notoriety to the host, a large advantage to holding a camp is that it has the potential to bring more players into the fold than would be possible otherwise. Most players can’t afford to travel to the coasts of the country for a weekend camp. Traveling to a session a few hours away or in their backyards might be more feasible.

If clubs are smart and host these events, they could be prime recruiting opportunities. It would give them access to national-level talent, or at least players committed and driven enough to try and get there. With a minimum requirement of 20 players at each camp, a team or club could gather more players in one day than would be possible in a year of conventional recruiting. What team couldn't benefit from a talent pool like that?

Those that attend the camps will take part in a battery of skills assessments, basic testing and other activities. These will allow participants to sell themselves and stand out from the rest of the pack. These camps are about proving potential not presenting perfection. Potential is what the High Performance staff present on the day of the camp will be looking at the room players have to grow. The ones that show up and show out will be uniquely positioned to receive invitations to regional and residential or upcoming national pathway events.

The camps aren't difficult to run and typically run four hours throughout a day. The camps are open to men and women. Camps can be exclusive or include both genders. Participants can be as young as 15 and older; and rugby experience is no barrier to these camps.

Generally, the days run like this:
  • 0:00-1:00 - Warm-up/Basic Testing 
  • 1:00-1:45 - Multi-Directional & spatial awareness activities 
  • 1:45-2:45 - Skill-Based activities & progressions 
  • 2:45-3:15 - Break 
  • 3:15-4:00 - Skill-Based activities

Those that opt to run one of these camps won’t be going it alone, though. USA Rugby will send people from the national programs to help lead the sessions. Local coaches are invited and encouraged to work hand-in-hand with the staff from USA Rugby. The higher-ups will also support the host clubs my donating any proceeds made from the camp right back to it.

All teams need to hold a camp is a field in good condition. Posts and additional space are good things to have as well but not required. If these criteria can be met and interest is high, teams can complete a short survey to be considered in the 2017 schedule.

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