From this October the number of players in the Under-13 to Under-15 age groups receiving top class coaching will grow dramatically thanks to a new partnership between the Saints, the Rugby Football Union and the East Midlands Rugby Union.
The England Rugby: Developing Player Programme (DPP) replaces the Schools of Rugby and will ensure that youngsters will receive more frequent sessions on the field and better and more consistent feedback during the season to enable them to develop as players.
The DPP will have centres in Bedford and Northampton and will run in parallel to the Saints’ Elite Player Development Groups (EPDG), which in turn will become smaller and more focused on bringing through talented players into the club’s Junior and Senior Academies.
Players will be invited to join the DPP after being recommended by their club or school coaches, or after having been watched by DPP and Saints Academy coaches.
At the same time as establishing the DPP, the Saints Academy staff will be building on the success last season’s coach education programme with a series of development workshops throughout the East Midlands and Eastern Counties.
Coaching workshops will be based at Moulton College (Northants), Samuel Whitbread School (Beds), Cambridge RFC (Cambs) and Stowmarket RFC (Suffolk). They will be suitable for school and club coaches and will cover various aspects of the game and how best to manage and develop players – whatever the age!
The DPP and coaching workshops are also being backed by Saints’ Elite Sponsor, the University of Northampton.
EPDG manager Ross Stewart says that the DPP is a natural extension to the existing work being done by the Saints Academy in the east of England.
“The Saints, the RFU and East Midlands Rugby Union all want players to develop and achieve the highest possible level, and I think that it’s fantastic that the DPP gives us a framework to work in partnership to grow our youth development programme,” he commented.
“But everyone in the Saints Academy also believes in the benefits of developing coaches at the same time. We’re very fortunate to have some great clubs in the East Midlands and Eastern Counties who have very committed coaches and volunteers, which is why we are expanding the coach development sessions that we did last season.
“And we’ll also be able to give coaches the opportunity to work with the DPP themselves and get more support from the club in furthering their own careers, working with members of the Saints’ first team staff.
“The DPP and coach development workshops have the potential to become a virtuous cycle, with better coaches bringing through more talented players, and making all of our club, county and regional teams better.”
For more information about the DPP email Ross Stewart – [email protected]
For more information about the coach development workshops email Jon Curry – [email protected]