A group of senior Ospreys players have taken the next step towards a potential coaching career when they hang up their playing boots having successfully completed their Level Two coaching qualification.
Joe Bearman, Alun Wyn Jones, Duncan Jones, Richard Fussell, Jonathan Thomas, Tom Isaacs and Ben John were put through their paces at Llandarcy by the highly acclaimed Ospreys Coach Development team.
With public Level Two courses tending to take place at weekends, Coach Development Officer Dan Owens tailored a special programme to fit around their playing and training schedule.
As with any regular Level Two course, the players went through modules covering a variety of subjects including ‘Preparing to coach’, ‘Communication skills’, and ‘Motivating the team and individuals’ in conjunction with Dr Steve Mellalieu from Swansea University, sports psychologist to the region.
Andrew Hore, Chief Operations Officer at the Ospreys, congratulated the seven players on passing the Level Two award, and highlighted it as another example of the investment being made by the region into development from within.
“All seven of the players should be congratulated on achieving their Level Two Coaching Badge” said Hore.
“It’s important that players recognise that they have a short playing career, and as such we are always encouraging them to invest time now to make them not just more rounded individuals, but to also give them more options for their future.
“We are 100 per cent committed to development from within at the Ospreys, it is central to our whole ethos. By encouraging senior players like these to undertake their coaching qualifications, we are empowering them to give something back to rugby and are creating the next generation of rugby coaches.
“It’s not that long ago that Steve Tandy was combining playing with taking his coaching badges and beginning the journey along the coach development pathway. We have other young coaches coming through the system, people like Mefin Davies, Dan Griffiths, Ben Rose, Ian Gough and Tom Smith, coaches that we are continuing to invest in.
“With another seven senior players now qualifying at Level Two, some of whom are already operating within our development structure and on the coaching pathway, it is clear that we are taking our developmental responsibilities very seriously.
“The coach is king in Ospreylia. Better coaches make for better players, and I’ve no doubt that these seven can help to develop a future generation of Ospreylians.”
For Dan Owens, the objective of the course was to educate professional players in how to utilise and dilute their game understanding and knowledge, enabling them to deliver to less experienced, developing players, through modern coaching theories and innovative methods.
“This course provided a unique challenge for me as a Coach Development Officer. Rarely do you get the opportunity to work with such esteemed players whose technical knowledge and game understanding is quite unique. Every one of them would have greater understanding of the game’s technical and tactical aspects at elite level, therefore, how could I design a course to challenge the way the pro thinks about coaching the game and also allow them to learn, develop and practice their coaching skills?
“The course therefore became heavily loaded at the front end based on coaching theory, to ensure the pros had a good grounding in understanding coaching practices.
“In relation to competencies, each coach was assessed against Level 1 competencies on benchmark task and then Level Two competencies from then on. This gave them an understanding of their capability and an action plan for further development. By the end of the course all participants had achieved coaching competencies equivalent to the UKCC Level Two standard and completed the course.”
Ospreys Rugby would also like to thank Neath Port Talbot College Dafydd Roberts, Dylan Parks, Jon Griffiths, Sam Richards and Shaun Ford ,who acted as players for the final day tasks, providing invaluable assistance to the course delegates.