Specialist Skills summer programme hones the abilities of Scotland’s future talent

Coaching sessions designed to drive up standards throughout the country are being rolled out across Scotland this summer.

Coaches from the national squad, including Duncan Hodge and Matt Taylor, will join forces with Scotland’s cap and points-record holder Chris Paterson and a host of coaches including Ayr’s Kenny Murray and Peter Laverie and Aberdeen Grammar’s Kevin Wyness in the concerted drive for improvement. 

Eddie Pollock, Scottish Rugby’s specialist coaching co-ordinator and Scotland under-18 head coach is extending  the Specialist Skills Programme this summer to 350 young players across the four home regions of Scotland; Caledonia, Borders, Edinburgh, and Glasgow.

The programme is driven by the ambition to enhance key rugby skills whilst at the same time identifying and providing wider engagement for promising young Scots across the country.

The programme will consist of hour and three-quarter sessions totalling in seven fortnightly meets on Monday nights starting on the June 3 in Edinburgh and the Borders. It draws upon players at under-17, under-18, and under-19 age level who show potential to play representative rugby at Scotland age group level. This specialist standard of coaching will be provided by top coaches from school, Scottish premiership, regional academy, and International age grade.

Pollock said: “The objective of our specialist skills sessions is to improve Scottish rugby across the board. We’re looking to drive up standards in the club and school game and we’d like the engagement to be as wide as possible, that’s why all our sessions are open for coaches to come along and watch.”

Along with advanced attack versus defence development, Pollock primarily seeks to target scrum, throwing, lineout, scrumhalf play, back three, and kicking expertise to increase the ability of young players to excel in their role on the pitch.

Furthermore, with the Specialist Skills programme being available for attendance by coaches at local school and club level, allowing an insight into advanced coaching techniques and enables them to apply it to their own crop of players.

Progression

From these summer sessions players and their coaches will be given feedback on aspects of the game that they need to improve on over the season and compete at a higher standard of rugby.

The sessions also allow the opportunity for the 350 players to be considered for selection for each of the Scotland under-18 and under-20 representative squads for the 2013/14 season.

In seeking to provide advanced coaching to a wider group of high ability players Scottish Rugby’s coaching team in conjunction with the specialist coaching programme have set up a shared website.

This enables coaches and players at representative level to share training sessions and fitness drills all in one domain. Players can then replay footage and be given instantaneous feedback on a daily basis further developing players opportunity to train and progress.

For further information clubs can contact Eddie Pollock on his email: Eddie.Pollock@sru.org.uk.