Scrum coach Matt Ferguson admits educating rugby coaches across the region can only help Northampton Saints in the long run, after taking part in a development session on Monday evening.
The 39-year-old led a seminar entitled ‘how to build a set piece’ at Shelford RFC, after attack coach Sam Vesty had already hosted a ‘principles of backs attack play’ tutorial in January at the same venue.
The Club’s coach education and CPD (Continuing Professional Development) programme is devised to improve the standard of rugby coaching throughout the region.
And with coaches invited from across the East Midlands, North-East Essex, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, Ferguson insists that learning to coach in a practical environment is the best way to grow.
“We covered the scrum and the line-out, looking at how the fundamental areas of Saints’ set-piece works and what [forwards coach] Phil Dowson and I are looking to put into the players on a daily basis,” he said.
“Quite often a lot of what we believe really makes those areas tick is different to what coaches are focusing on in their clubs – that’s because they are focusing on ‘big picture’ stuff, rather than the quality of the individual elements like jumping, lifting and throwing.
“The session was half practical and half theory, so we focused to begin with on some of our philosophies and showed some clips of the first-team squad doing work on that, and then using our under-16 DPP players the coaches in attendance practised delivering those principles to them.
"They all want to improve themselves and it’s a great statement for this Club."Matt Ferguson, scrum coach
“I’ve come from a coach development background myself and I’m a big believer that you should learn by doing – reading a book about playing a guitar doesn’t mean you know how to play one!
“It’s excellent for us, as we want to be producing a conveyor belt of set-piece orientated forwards which has been the bedrock of what Saints have been about in recent years.”
A range of topics have been covered in CPD sessions so far this season, including talent identification, scrum, line-out, defence, attack, strength & conditioning and nutrition.
To find out more about Northampton Saints’ coach education programmes, please CLICK HERE.
Two more tutorials with Saints first-team coaches are still to come – with Phil Dowson delivering a breakdown skills tutorial on Monday 18 March, before ‘an evening with Chris Boyd’ on Monday 8 April – and Ferguson is encouraging as many coaches as possible to get involved.
He said: “It was a brilliant turnout, especially when you consider these are all volunteer coaches giving up their weekends and evenings to do it.
“They all want to improve themselves and it’s a great statement for this Club – I said to them all on Monday evening, they should keep coming and cultivating their skills as much as they can, because this is a unique opportunity to learn.”