PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – The 2014 USA Rugby National Development Summit saw its largest attendance to date Saturday at Hyatt Regency Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing with more than 20 presentations and seminars dedicated to growing the game of rugby.
Spring Hill College Head Coach Mollie McCarthy was a member of the “Developing Female Rugby Athletes” panel, along with Katie Wurst, AIG Women’s Collegiate All-Americans Head Coach Danielle Miller and Minnesota Youth Rugby’s Libby Berg.
“It was basically to kind of highlight different approaches and bring up isses with coaching and coaching females and if there are different approaches to it,” McCarthy said. “If there are differences, what are they and what certain things we need to address when it comes to women’s rugby.”
McCarthy also led “Enhancing Rugby Participation Through Team Building” with Wurst. Hear her thoughts on the presentation:
Other discussions focused on multiple aspects of the game with presenters from around the world. Mike Rogers and Chad Tuoro of New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty Rugby Union spoke of their study abroad program in “Chasing Gold Sevens” and Colin Moran from the Irish Rugby Football Union led “Season Planning and Organization: An IRFU Model.”
National team coaches Salty Thompson and Luke Gross were also amongst the list of presenters in multiple tracks at NDS, which included Coaching, Referee, Specialty and Administration.
“The Summit’s been great, a lot of excitement,” McCarthy said. “I just feel like everything’s buzzing because there’s so much going on in rugby right now. I think that the Summit itself, obviously with the different tracks, we’re touching on a bunch of different subjects. There’s so much to learn that I think people are walking away motivated and excited to go back to their teams and seasons.”
Rugby Canada Director of Rugby Mike Chu’s presentation on “Player Development Model Review: A New Zealand and Canadian Perspective” was another highlight, but the biggest news to come from the Summit was the announcement of BLK becoming the new USA Rugby Official Kit Supplier at the BLK presents an Evening of Champions.
USA Rugby Director of Medical Services Mike Keating’s “USA Rugby Medical and Concussion Update” and NACRA Technical Director Scott Harland’s “Nurturing Rugby Values” were highlights of the Specialty track, which will conclude Sunday with “Thinking Defense” with Women’s Eagles Defense Coach Peter Baggetta and “Developing Lineout Strategy” with USA Rugby High Performance Player Development Manager Luke Gross.
“We talk about unity and cohesion,” McCarthy said after her team-building presentation. “Everything is just working together for the greater good, which is to grow the game of rugby in the United States. So I think a Summit like this, bringing all of these different people and vendors, we’re all here for the same purpose – to grow the game.
“Let’s share ideas, let’s work together, let’s help build this game together. I know it’s friendly competition but the reason we’re all here is because we love the game and want to see it grow and help it get better.”
The National Development Summit ends Sunday, but the legacy of the event will last for all in attendance. Search the #RugbyNDS hashtag on Twitter for more and check back tomorrow for recap of the final day. Visit the NDS website for a full list of presenters and sponsors.