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Written by Alex Goff    Thursday, 08 August 2013 23:20    PDF Print Write e-mail
Prelim Camp Starts for Eagles - P
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The USA Men's National Team is holding a preliminary camp this week in South Carolina.

 
Written by Chris Draper    Wednesday, 07 August 2013 17:01    PDF Print Write e-mail
Rethinking Rugby: USA Rugby and Coach Education - P
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Chris Draper, former player at Cal and international referee, and current director of the Iowa HS Rugby Association, looks to change the approach in teaching coaches in rugby.


 
Written by Alex Goff    Sunday, 04 August 2013 00:33    PDF Print Write e-mail
Could Hawkins be Player-Coach? - P
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New USA 7s Head Coach Matt Hawkins has not decided whether he will still play for the team he captained in the 2012-2013 season.

 
Written by Alex Goff    Friday, 02 August 2013 18:05    PDF Print Write e-mail
Latest from Eagle Men 15s - P
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Expect to see a few changes for the USA squad when they assemble this month for the World Cup Qualifiers.

 
Written by Pat Clifton    Thursday, 01 August 2013 16:49    PDF Print Write e-mail
New 15s Club Comp Brewing - P
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Several high-profile clubs west of the Mississippi look to be starting their own competition.

 
Written by Alex Goff    Thursday, 01 August 2013 14:53    PDF Print Write e-mail
7s Coach in Place Already? - P
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Reports are that the new USA 7s Head Coach is already on the job.

 
Written by Alex Goff & Pat Clifton    Thursday, 01 August 2013 12:40    PDF Print Write e-mail
Goff, Clifton Make 7s Nationals Predictions - P
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Alex Goff and Pat Clifton have broken down the men's 7s championships pool by pool, picking the winners and losers all the way through to the final.

 
Written by Alex Goff    Wednesday, 31 July 2013 18:51    PDF Print Write e-mail
Wyles: Eagles Ultra-Motivated by Poor Performances - P
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In the World Cup Qualifiers of 2009, the USA and Canada played four halves of rugby, and in those four halves, the USA outscored the Canadians in two of them, the teams tied in one, and Canada outscored the USA in one half.

 
Written by Shalom Suniula    Tuesday, 30 July 2013 00:41    PDF Print Write e-mail
Suniula - Searching for Consistency - P
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Shalom Suniula looks at how emotion, as well as fatigue, plays a part in playing well consistently. This column is available for Premier Subscribers.

 
Written by Karen Fong Donoghue    Wednesday, 24 July 2013 21:28    PDF Print Write e-mail
College Apps: Just Say Yes - P
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There's a rule in improvisational acting: Just say yes. In order for a comical skit to work, improvisational actors work very hard to “say yes” to whatever nonsensical scenario is put in front of them. If you agree with whatever the other person says, you can keep the scene moving forward. The same is true of motivating young people.

 
Written by Karen Fong Donoghue    Wednesday, 24 July 2013 21:12    PDF Print Write e-mail
College Apps: Just Say Yes - P
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There's a rule in improvisational acting: Just say yes. In order for a comical skit to work, improvisational actors work very hard to “say yes” to whatever nonsensical scenario is put in front of them. If you agree with whatever the other person says, you can keep the scene moving forward. The same is true of motivating young people.

 
Written by Alex Goff    Wednesday, 24 July 2013 19:00    PDF Print Write e-mail
Chasing Down 7s Coach Rumors (Updated) - P
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So the rumors are flying around about the next USA Men's 7s Head Coach.

 
Written by Eamonn Hogan    Wednesday, 24 July 2013 11:24    PDF Print Write e-mail
Hogan: Situational Awareness, A Game-Changer - P
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Contributing writer Eamonn Hogan also writes for Rugby Coach Weekly, drawing on his 22 years of coaching experience in England - from the British military to the Leicester Tigers - to his involvement with the USA All American age grade program, where he serves as advisor. Hogan is also a technical advisor to Worksop College Rugby.

As all coaches know, there are many factors that can affect a game, some of which can determine the outcome before the game even begins.

The ultimate example:


It’s a powerful moment, both for those singing Wales’ national anthem and the visitors enduring it. If you were England’s coach, how could you prepare your team for such an experience?

To boot, England had only three players who had played in Millennium Stadium before, and none on such an occasion. Before the game whistle sounded, the Roses reverberated with the intensity of stadium singing their anthem. Aside from the hometown backing, Wales had been involved in four Le Grand Chelem matches in eight years, one of which they lost in the last minute.

I think all of us would say those opening two minutes made a difference in the outcome of that game … But why? Before the answer, let’s add some depth to the question:

In 2007, Conor O’Shea, the former Irish International now Director of Rugby for the Harlequins, was requested to address England and explain the significance of their playing at the home of Gaelic sports, Croke Park. Why?

In 2008, my local rugby club played against the USA U17s. As a mark of respect, I asked the bands from my high school to play both anthems, even though I knew exactly what singing The Star Spangled Banner means to an American at sporting events. I had a strategy for my team to overcome the psychological edge the Americans would get from singing their anthem. Why?

In fact, nearly all teams have a psychological strategy for dealing with a team’s anthem, the Haka, the Sipi Tau, etc. Why?


“Why” Answered

The “why” is something known as situational awareness. Simply, situational awareness is the ability to recognize events both directly and indirectly related to your situation and the ability to positively deal with their influences.

Take, for example, workers in emergency services. They constantly deal with life and death situations under time and environmental pressures. They are trained to recognise and deal with not only what’s happening in front of them, but also what could happen – for instance, if a floor collapses, or a bystander watching an ambulance crew at work is suddenly hit by a vehicle (As someone married to a paramedic, trust me, it happens!).

And it’s the same with rugby: You may not think games can be won or lost at a Haka or a national anthem, but it's the things you ignore that can come back to kick you in the rear.

This doesn't necessarily mean that you have to experience something first and then fail before you succeed. Just because you have no previous experience with a certain experience doesn’t mean your lessons will be learned in defeat.

As with many things, it’s not that simple. For example: How many times have you turned up for a game and as soon as you see who the referee is, you already know how the game will end? Coaches will prepare to face their opposition – but will they prepare to deal with a biased referee? That’s situational awareness.


Coaching Situational Awareness

I have had my fair share of losses due to biased referees, so a few years ago I incorporated this phrase into my coaching philosophy:

“If I let the referee influence what my team is doing, WE WILL LOSE”

I tailor my coaching sessions to help my team with situational awareness. I will act as a referee during intra-squad matches, deliberately favoring one side. I’ll penalise any 50/50 pass, any ball not coming out of a ruck as lost possession, and any kick chases as instantly offside. I’ll even penalise celebration after a try as ungentlemanly conduct.

The better players will quickly realise what’s happening and begin to strategize the game in their favor. They repeat every call the referee makes to ensure clarity, they lie a bit deeper in attack, they try to offload prior to the tackle area more, and if the ball does end up on the floor from a tackle, they know what placement I am after so it gives me no opportunity to blow the whistle.

As coaches, we can help our players with situational awareness by changing from drill-based sessions into game-related ones.

For example, let’s look at a simple 2 v 1 passing activity. Any player worth his salt can do a 2 v 1 pass in his sleep; yet, in matches, many fail under pressure. In a previous article, I surmised that we don't put players under the same conditions in training that they’ll experience in match play. They aren’t as aware of what is happening in front of them –  their situational awareness is poorly developed.

Think of it like this – it is difficult to create a 2 v 1 the way you would see it in a game. They occur through multiple phase play or a missed defensive assignment, and therefore have to be recognized in the heat of the moment. Even if you have practiced until you are blue in the face, it’s likely the players will fail during a match unless you have created game-like scenarios where players can see and execute passes at the appropriate moment.

As coaches, we need to try to create situations to push players outside their comfort zone, forcing them to create coping strategies of their own. Initially, they may fail, but with some guidance, better communication from peers and a little more awareness, it’s amazing the progress you can make.

Returning to the film clip I asked you to look at earlier: How would you deal with that sort of atmosphere as the coach of the visiting team?

There is a comments section below – I would love to see what you come up with!


 
Written by Alex Goff    Monday, 15 July 2013 19:36    PDF Print Write e-mail
Eagle Has Shot at Pro Contract - P
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Another USA players has a shot at a pro contract overseas.

 
Written by Alex Goff    Monday, 15 July 2013 15:50    PDF Print Write e-mail
Key Week for Army Men's Rugby - P
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The West Point Men's Rugby Team is entering a crucial few days this week.


 
Written by Shalom Suniula    Monday, 15 July 2013 12:55    PDF Print Write e-mail
Shalom Suniula: Questions at End of Long Season - P
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Shalom Suniula discusses the RWC 7s and the end of a long 2012-2013 season for the USA 7s team. This column is available for Premier Subscribers.

 
Written by Alex Goff    Sunday, 14 July 2013 17:16    PDF Print Write e-mail
SFGG, Olympic Club on Upswing - P
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The cream is perhaps rising to the top in Northern California as SFGG, Olympic Club, Sacramento Lions and San Jose qualified for the Pacific Coast 7s finals July 20.

 
Written by Alex Goff    Friday, 12 July 2013 12:29    PDF Print Write e-mail
Fitness Bar High for HSAAs - P
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High School All Americans Head Coach Salty Thompson has put the hammer down on fitness requirements for his team leading up to their tour of Argentina.

 
Written by RUGBYMag Staff    Wednesday, 10 July 2013 14:22    PDF Print Write e-mail
Rugby Coach Weekly Reprint - Tackling Tips - P
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This is our latest reprint excerpt from RUGBY COACH WEEKLY details some simple tips on helping young players tackle better.

 
Written by Alex Goff    Tuesday, 09 July 2013 17:19    PDF Print Write e-mail
Eagle Eye - The USA Backs - P
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Now to the backs. With the USA offense sputtering a bit, it’s reasonable to give this group an overall poor review. Three tries against Japan was nice, and two against Fiji was fine. None against Tonga, Ireland, and Canada is bad.

 
Written by Alex Goff    Monday, 08 July 2013 19:57    PDF Print Write e-mail
Eagle Eye - The USA Forwards - P
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Following the USA’s 0-5 spring, the Eagles are now looking at rebounding against Canada to qualify for the 2015 World Cup.


 
Written by Alex Goff    Sunday, 07 July 2013 22:14    PDF Print Write e-mail
7s Teams Hiring, In Different Ways - P
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The USA 7s teams, just back from the Rugby World Cup 7s, are hiring, although in two different ways.

 
Written by Alex Goff    Wednesday, 26 June 2013 18:20    PDF Print Write e-mail
Eagle Eye: What Happened with the Eagles Part 3 - P
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This is Part 3 of What Happened with the Eagles.

 
Written by Alex Goff    Wednesday, 26 June 2013 11:22    PDF Print Write e-mail
RUGBY Magazine June 2013 Now Online - P
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RUGBY Magazine's June issue is available for RUGBYMag.com suscribers.

RUGBY Magazine can also be subscribed to for iPad by clicking here or by going to the Apple Newsstand on your iPad.

You can also subscribe through your Android, Blackberry, and Kindle Fire tablet.

Check in your app store to subscribe!

 


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