USA Rugby has updated what it means to be a registered rugby coach in the United States. Beginning with the 2012-13 membership year, all USA Rugby members that register as a coach will be required to successfully complete a comprehensive USA Rugby Player Protection Package as part of their membership criteria. These changes stand with the spirit of the game of rugby, and are a reflection of the importance of some of rugby’s core principles of solidarity, fair play, teamwork, respect and enjoyment.
USA Rugby, the national governing body for the sport in the U.S., is responsible for the development of the boys, girls, high school, collegiate and club rugby programs, and ultimately all of the national teams representing the U.S. in international competitions.
The new coach registration program will include training in a number of critical areas of athlete safety and wellbeing. Many of these topics are integral in the development and continuation of a vibrant, competitive, healthy and safe environment for rugby players, coaches and fans alike.
The coaching membership package will include training and educational programs for coaches in the following topics:
- Concussion Management
- First Responder First Aid
- Sexual Abuse, Bullying and Harassment Prevention and Awareness
- Rugby Technique Instruction
- Performance Enhancing Drug Education
- Ethics and Sportsmanship
USA Rugby is partnering with top sports governing bodies and coaching education providers in the U.S. and from around the world to deliver these programs to new and current USA Rugby coaches. These new education partners include:
- United States Olympic Committee (USOC)
- United State Anti-Doping Agency (USADA)
- National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS)
- American Sport Education Program (ASEP)
- International Rugby Board (IRB)
Each of these partners is recognized as a leader in its field of expertise and USA Rugby is proud to be working with these world-class providers for the improvement and development of their coaches and athletes.
The cost of the new education program will be included in the standard membership fee for all coaches in order to ensure compliance and provide an economical, effective and efficient registration process. The new USA Rugby Coach membership fee of $65 will provide a comprehensive set of benefits and services to the coaches while ensuring the welfare and safety of the players.
The membership will continue to include:
- A background check Member accident insurance
- Third party liability insurance
- Additional member benefits and discounts with USA Rugby partners
- Discounted fees on coach professional development courses and resources
David McCann, USA Rugby’s Director of Coaching Development, is the architect of the new Coaching Development Program. “We are in a position at USA Rugby where by just doing the right thing, we can have a dramatic impact on the players, coaches and parents involved in our sport,” McCann said. “By making these trainings mandatory, and included in the registration process, we will be able to offer rugby as a sport where players, and specifically young players, will be surrounded by a community of coaches and volunteers that have been trained to provide a safe environment for players to enjoy the game, grow and learn valuable life lessons.”
Formerly of the USOC, McCann believes that by taking these steps, USA Rugby will be placing itself at the forefront of American sports.
“Given all that is happening today, parents in ever-increasing numbers now have to consider the requirements of the sport and organization’s commitment to the well-being of their kids, when guiding their children into sports or other activities.
“By doing the right thing, we will be doing the smart thing as well. With rugby back in the Olympics in 2016, the country’s attention will be turning to rugby as never before. We have the opportunity to show America what we are really about, what we are made of, what our sport stands for. We are doing this by demonstrating our commitment to our players and coaches by taking these bold, strong actions to protect and prepare them.”
Nigel Melville, USA Rugby’s CEO and President of Rugby Operations firmly believes that developing a strong community of protection, respect, and support will result in future success on the international stage. “In meetings and calls with our Board of Directors, USA Rugby Congress, state organizations, and rugby coaches at all levels, there has been overwhelming support for this initiative. As the newest sport in the Olympics, we not only have the challenge of winning medals (which we intend to do), but also upholding and promoting the Olympic ideals and the long standing Spirit of the Game of Rugby.”
The new coach registration process is the first in a series of changes that USA Rugby is making to its Coach Development Program. Additional changes and improvements to the coach certification program and resources that coaches can use to train and improve their coaching abilities are all part of the revisions of the Coach Development Department.
Coaches will no longer be required to repeat formerly taken courses in order to retain their certification and a process of Continuing Education Credits and professional development currency will be fully rolled out. Included in this will be access to new and improved technical coaching seminars from USA Rugby High Performance players and coaches as well as new strategic partnerships with world class experts in rugby technical knowledge.
Melville added: “We are making major improvements to the way that we register, certify and educate our rugby coaches in the U.S. As the game continues to grow it is important that we strive to improve the coaches who are very often at the heart of the rugby playing experience for many of our players.”