UNIVERSITY PARK, PA -- Over 120 athletes participated in the opening round of the Eagle Training Center (ETC) camps across the country, with 16 competitors meeting at the State College ETC on Friday night. Opening the 2013 Women’s Eagles selection vehicle, the State College ETC camp started by introducing players to expectations for the weekend, which was then followed by fitness testing and a general rugby skills session.
The initial ETC on the year is based on providing resources to players for the remainder of the year. With individual coaches at each location across the country, ETC’s are available to the invited athletes for strengthening personal aspects through a more localized setting. Women’s Eagles 15s head coach Pete Steinberg emphasized that ETCs are designed for “enabling players to maximize their abilities”.
“The ETC’s are set up so players can more readily work one-on-one with a coach at any time to improve any aspect of their game, whether it’s rugby skills, physical development, nutrition, or game awareness skills,” said Steinberg.
Upon arrival, players were given surveys to measure current stress levels from daily routines as well as gage nutritional habits. Additional paperwork was distributed to help establish nutritional guidelines and basic principals for the team.
Holuba Hall on the campus of Penn State provided the indoor turf space required for the fitness testing and subsequent rugby skills practice. Each player was tested through six sequential 70-meter shuttle runs.
State College ETC head coach Chris Amoratis then lead the athletes through a basic rugby skill assessment, noting passing techniques, tracking and tackling abilities, as well as drills regarding general rugby awareness.
“The goal of tonight was to provide some understanding of the way the national team wants to play,” said Amoratis. “ I think from what we saw tonight, we are well on our way.”
The next session for the State College ETC will take place on Saturday at 8 a.m. Holuba Hall will again house the session, which is set to open with players completing a beep test fitness assessment and followed by an additional rugby skills session.
An afternoon assembly will be conducted to demonstrate proper weightlifting routines and techniques, followed by a nutritional information session. Rugby skills will comprise the final session of the camp, taking place later in the evening.
Subsequent ETC camps have been tentatively scheduled for March and April. The final two camps will be only for athletes selected by the coaching staff.
After a successful first year in 2012, the ETC’s have helped to restructure the selection process all together. ETC camps will help to determine the group of players selected to the Elite Performance Series (EPS) Top 60 camp as well as 7s camps held throughout the year.
The ETC camps have been established as an entry point for athletes looking to join the 15s and 7s national teams. Locations for ETC camps include Amherst (MA), State College (PA), Atlanta (GA), Chicago (IL), Denver (CO), Palo Alto (CA), and San Diego (CA).