District coaches join Ospreys age-grade staff

District coaches from across the region are being handed the opportunity to taste life within the Ospreys age-grade set-up as part of a new initiative aimed at accelerating their ongoing development.

Coaches from the various Afan Nedd, Bridgend and Swansea District sides will be handed the chance during the course of the season to attend WRU Regional Age Grade matches where they will shadow the respective Ospreys coaching team in order to get a fascinating insight into how they operate.

The scheme follows a similar initiative that was introduced last season, that has seen age-grade coaches stepping up to shadow the senior coaching team on the weekend of a match, and is seen as a central plank of the coach development pathway within the region.

The move recognises the importance of the role that District rugby plays in the development of both players and coaches, and is further evidence of the Ospreys commitment to development from within.

Andrew Millward, Regional Performance Development Manager at the Ospreys, said:

“The District set-up has always played a hugely important role in the development of young players, and here at the Ospreys, we truly value the hard work that is done at all three of our Districts. Over the last twelve months we’ve worked very hard with Afan Nedd, Bridgend and Swansea Districts to put a structure in place that sets out a clear development pathway for young players in the region, which has the Districts at the heart of it.

“Our working relationship with all three Districts is outstanding. Now that we have a clear pathway in place for players, we can look at the coach development pathway, which is what we are doing with this initiative. It is clearly a positive move going forward; If you get better coaches at that level then you get better players, which raises the standard across the board then we will have a wider pool of quality young players in the region but there is also the advantage of widening the pool of quality coaches, wherever their coaching career takes them, be that up the ladder with the region, or to clubs in their District.”

District coaches participating in the initiative will receive a complete insight into the preparation, game plan and pre match build up, and are involved in all aspects of activity during the match, including the half time team talk and to the immediate post match discussions. They will be accompanied by an Ospreys Coach Development Officer, who will challenge them to make their own observations and to suggest what their own half time talk would consist of, a process which is then repeated at the end of the match.

Tony Thomas, Ospreys Coach Development Officer added:

“We greatly appreciate the time and effort that the coaches provide on a voluntary basis to support our mission to improve the level of District rugby. We will continue to assist in their development in a number of ways and this initiative is an integral part of that programme”