Advice Column, Education

Former Springboks to offer up their expertise to schools

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OPPORTUNITY TO SPEND THE HOLIDAYS WITH RUGBY ROLE-MODELS

Former Springboks, professional coaches and provincial players are offering parents a solution to the dilemma of keeping the kids entertained during the school holidays with fun, educational courses. Taking place from 13 to 19 December at St Charles College, players aged 7 to 17 and coaches of all levels will have the opportunity to learn from these role models as part of the Investec International Rugby Academy’s December holiday courses.

Grounded in the belief that a solid knowledge of the basic elements of rugby are essential components to the development, safety and success of the game, the Academy will include former Springboks Bryan Habana, Braam van Straaten, John Smit, André Pretorius and Ian MacDonald, as well as iconic international coaches’ Ian McIntosh, Dick Muir and many more.

“Together we all have a great deal of specialisation and by bringing this sort of expertise together sets a certain standard. We aim to give players the right knowledge for the right start,” says former All Black Captain and Academy mental toughness coach, Murray Mexted.

Regardless of team, school or level of the game, these greats hope to inspire a passion for the game in young players and teach them valuable life skills, while fast-tracking their abilities by transferring an understanding of what it takes mentally, behind-the-scenes and on field to become a professional.

“We put players in pressure situations to learn to make decisions and, also, not to be scared when they make mistakes. A platform like the Academy is a great way to enhance yourself as an individual and as a player or coach, and to be able to be taught by players who have experienced the professional game – you can’t get a better area to learn from,” says current Sharks consultant coach and former Springbok Assistant Coach, Dick Muir.

Understanding that school coaching goes hand-in-hand with developing future talent, the Investec International Rugby Academy also focuses on keeping coaches up-to-date with the latest, international coaching methods to maintain the professional standard from an early age.

“Knowledge-sharing, especially amongst coaches, is one of the most important things in the game. If we can introduce an environment or culture of knowledge-sharing by creating a network amongst players and coaches, it makes everyone comfortable to, not only learn something new, but to be able to impart something that has worked for them,” says former Springbok Captain, John Smit.

Position-specific coaching, skills work and mental toughness are high on the learning agenda for all age groups. High school players (ages 13 to 17) are offered two options – a 5-Day Players Course and an Advanced Players’ Course (seven days), while primary school players (ages 10 to 12) spend four days in the Intermediate Players’ Course, and junior primary players (ages seven to 9), three days focusing on the building blocks of playing a safe game in the Prestige Players’ Course.

“There’s always a feeling of character on the Academy’s courses; character players and coaches that you meet here,” says former Springbok, André Pretorius.

For more information about The Investec International Rugby Academy’s Courses, taking place during the school holidays from 13 to 19 December at St Charles College in Pietermaritzburg, visit www.investecacademy.com or contact Greg or Bernadine Miller on (031) 940 5565.

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