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Cobra Sport Academy




Podcast Episode 1 - recorded and being prepped ready for broadcast!!

The Glass Half Full podcast will be airing very soon! When I was initially approached to host my own pod, I was rather nervous and unsure, but those of you who know me appreciate I enjoy a good chat!!

Episode 1 focusses on the Girl's and Women's game and how we think it might look in a few years time, and what could help get it the recognition and support it deserves. I couldn't have asked for three better guests to kickstart the series;

 Mary Ann Collins - passionate Kids First Mentor, Crowthorne player, Camberley coach
 Duncan Johnson - club coaching colleague with a major hand in developing the Girl's section at Ellingham & Ringwood
 Bryony Cleall - Professonal rugby player for Sarries and England Red Rose, with a few views on the subject...

I really enjoyed our conversation; I hope you do too, listen here!

Huge thanks to Dan Cottrell and the Rugby Coach Weekly team for their support getting this off the ground!



LooseHeadz Academy!

The LooseHeadz mission is simple; build a community, united around a shared mission, to begin turning the tide against poor mental health.

They offer rugby-themed clothing to get people talking, with proceeds funding other great work.

There is an ever-growing group of Ambassadors, including some past and present stars of rugby, who are promoting the message and helping encourage suffers to #TackleTheStigma and open up about their issues - which is the vital first step on the road to recovery.

Alongside the Ambassadors, there is an Academy; a group of great people spreading the word at grassroots level.

I'm very pleased to be involved as a LooseHeadz Academy member!

I've seen first hand what bottling up issues can do, and how poor mental health can really affect your life and well-being. If I can help just one person tackle the stigma associated with speaking about issues and help them move towards better mental health...

LooseHeadz #TackleTheStigma

Very proud to be part of the LooseHeadz Academy!!



Cups, 7's and Riverdance!

It's been a great couple of months with the Barton Peveril College boys! We've been through the Hampshire U18 Bowl Final, and started on the 7's circuit with a trip to the Isle of Wight for Ryde School's tournament.

Whilst it was great to watch the lads shut out Havant to keep them on zero to convincingly lift the Bowl, and really encouraging to see them improve game on game through the 7's (with minimal input from me), the best bits are well outside the performance bubble.

Their confidence to try something they wouldn't normally try in a club game, offer an opinion when they might normally wait to be told, and take ownership of the game has grown exponentially through the season.

Back in September, there seemed confusion when I encouraged 'Sonny Bill' passes in training, with some players thinking I would never let them use such a pass in a game - or bawl them out if they tried it. Well, why would I encourage it in training if I didn't want to see it in matches?? As well as another attack option, they're also great for the decision making thought process - when, where, why, how...

The pinnacle though was the last training session before our Final. While we were tweaking our lineout moves, the backs were running through some plays. They jogged over - "can we show you 'Riverdance'?". "Ok, go for it".

Essentially, when we had an attacking scrum, in between the posts centrally, the backs take up the Riverdance position. 10 assumes a Michael Flatley-like stance, and lines up behind the back of the scrum, with all the backs lined up behind him in a column. The 'signal' is 10's foot - if he's tapping his right foot, they go right; if tapping the left, they go left.

Now, that may sound a bit wacky, but I'm loving the fact that they came up with the move, couldn't wait to show me, and then used it in the Final! Ok, we didn't score directly from it, but it worked, it confused the hell out of the defence!!

As I always say, it's their game, and I just guide and facilitate to help them get the most enjoyment possible.

Love it!!

Up next, the Hampshire President's 7's. Competition will be tough, but we're all looking forward to the challenge with big grins on our faces.

Barton Peveril All Stars

Great group of lads, can't wait for next season!!



College Team - a new challenge!

I'm very pleased to have started working with the Boys U18 team at Barton Peveril College in Eastleigh. Sadly, we didn't have a big enough uptake to run a Girls team too, but that might come in the future.

With good numbers in the group, and some serious skills already on display, this is a challenge that I'm really enjoying for so many different reasons.

We've got off to a great start, with some League wins alongside quualifying for a higher level of Cup competition than last season - but my ethos remains the same; it's their game and I'm the facilitator to help make it the best experience possible for them.

A Regional 7's Cup beckons next week and the start of another chapter. I can't wait!!



Bath Time!!

Have to admit I'm just a bit excited about this!!

Having been a Bath Rugby fan for a few decades, it's with great pleasure I can announce I have been accepted to join the Bath Rugby Community Coaching team.

My 'interview' involved leading sessions at the recent Warminster Army Bath Rugby Camp - in quite possibly the worst rain I've ever coached in (you'd almost think the weather was part of the test)!

Ok, I won't be spending all my time at The Rec, but I will be helping coach kids through their Community Engagement programme.

What could be better than widening the net of coaching kids and being a (very small) cog in the Bath Rugby machine.

Bath Rugby Community

Cobra Rugby Camps and After School Clubs will continue as before, this is just another string to my ever growing bow.



Joined Lions Sports Academy coaching team

I'm very pleased to have joined Lions Sports Academy as a freelance rugby coach.

My main focus will remain the same, but joining the Lions team will open up my coaching window, and offer me more learning opportunities through their excellent Masterclass series.

To start us off, we're hoping to run a pre-season Lions camp in August, focussing on position specific skills, fitness, S&C and nutrition - quite a packed couple of days! This will take place at Ellingham & Ringwood's ground. More news as it becomes available.




CBRE All Schools Summer Touch at Burgate School & Sixth Form

The All Schools programme has been such a success at Burgate School that we're running a Summer Touch series after school. As it's Touch Rugby, and no contact is allowed, this allows us to mix girls and boys of all ages, and even add a teacher or two - and an All Schools coach into the teams!

Each week, players go into different teams with points awarded for each Win, Draw, Loss. Players have their own points tally, so we end up with a Player Of The Tournament at the end.

I wonder who'll come out on top? The girls are determined it won't be a boy, or a PE teacher!!



All After School Clubs still going strong!

I'm a little shcoked by the response to the demand for After Schhol Clubs. Not only have my existing schools rebooked for the Summer Term, but Western Downland Junior School in Rockbourne have been added to the list!!

A few Western Downland pupils have tried Tag rugby before, but we have several new-to-rugby players too. Which is great! Primary focus is encouraging existing players to help the newbies get up to speed, which in turn promotes the Teamwork aspect - it's amazing to see how far some of the kids have progressed in the first few weeks.

If your child goes to a school which you think might be interested i running an After School Club, please just let me know a contact name and I'll get in touch. Email me at andy@cobrasportacademy.com



Girls Rugby Camps in February & April

To further the great work done at Ellingham & Ringwood RFC for the Girls game, we are running two Girls Rugby Camps. Dates are;
February 18th & 19th, 2019 April 15th & 16th, 2019

Single Day and Two Day options are available, and profits from the camsp will be reinvested into the club to fund further development of the Girls game at Ellingham & Ringwood. So, not only will attendees be able to hone their skills through the camp, but they'll also be helping provide future opportunities in the club's fastest growing section.

The camps are open to Girls from all schools and rugby clubs currently playing in U10 / Year 5 through to U13 / Year 8 age groups. To book a place, please go to rugbycamp.errfc.com

ERRFC Girls Rugby Camps



All After School Clubs rebooked - excellent!

I'm very pleased to say that after the success of the recent After School Clubs, Ringwood C of E Infants, Ringwood Junior and Poulner Junior Schools have all rebooked their respective after school clubs to begin in January. Fingers crossed for the weather!!

As well as working with existing rugby players, these After School Clubs are a great opportunity to introduce new children to Tag rugby. Some kids go on to transition to club rugby, but it's nice to let them experience a different sport and embrace the Teamwork Core Value that is such a linch pin of rugby union.

These clubs will run on the same days and times as previously, and to book your child on, please contact your respective school reception.



Poulner Junior School - After School Club

Starting November 14th, and running for three weeks initially, we'll be introducing new players to Tag Rugby as well as honing evasion and invasion skills of existing players. Then, after the Christmas break, we'll run a traditional 10-week After School Club. Bookings via the school office.

It's particularly pleasing that Poulner's Head Teacher, Mrs Walker, is keen to include children who don't always get to play sport at school. We'll be running special sessions for these children immediately before the After School Club and working on their fundamental movement skills, communication - and generally enjoying themselves!



Poulner Junior School - 'This Is Rugby' Assembly

I was offered the opportunity to speak during assembly about the benefits of team sport, with rugby as the main theme. It was so nice to see the looks on the faces of the kids as they watched the England Rugby 'Core Values' and New Zealand All Blacks videos. It was also made clear that rugby is a game for all shapes and sizes, and there is a place for everyone on the rugby pitch regardless of ability.

This seemed to strike a chord with lots of the children. My first question is normally 'Who thinks they can play rugby?" - it's also my last question. The Poulner kids obviously liked what they saw and heard as loads more hands went up the second time!!

"The kids loved it and lots talking about rugby in the playground and in class!"



Ringwood C of E Infants School - After School Club

Starting November 9th, it's the turn of the C of E Infants School's After School Club. Running for 5 weeks initially, we'll be concentrating on fundamental movement as well as core Tag Rugby skills. Some of the kids are already Ellingham & Ringwood RFC members, but it's a great opportunity to introduce other kids to Tag Rugby, and team sport in general. Bookings can be made via the school office.



ERRFC Rugby Camp - a great success!!

Cobra's debut rugby camp, run for Ellingham & Ringwood RFC on August 20th & 21st, was an absolute blast! Lots of smiling kids and some great comments from the parents afterwards - all good stuff!!

The Camp was designed so that the kids would get to play various 20-minute chunks of rugby-based games, all planned out to help enforce rugby's Principles Of Play and improve individual skills, but with a huge amount of fun thrown in to make their learning as enjoyable as possible.



The kids had a great time, and Guest Coaches Poppy (England & Saracens) & Bryony Cleall (Saracens) were brilliant!

We're already looking at future camps, so keep an eye out for more news on those as it becomes available!

If you'd like to run a Camp, why not get in touch so we can discuss?!



RFU All Schools

I'm very pleased to be joining the RFU All Schools programme!

Starting in September, my primary role will see me spending a few days each week working with key local schools with a strong rugby background. As well as helping coach the sessions, I will be focussing on increasing Girls participation in school rugby, and their transition to club rugby as this is a key development area for the RFU.



Ringwood Junior School - After School Club

Starting September 20th, I will be running an After School Club at the school on behalf of Ellingham & Ringwood RFC. Running from 3pm to 4.15pm for 10 weeks, the activity will aim to enhance existing playing skills, introduce new players to rugby, but above all, be great fun!

The After School Club will take place on the school field, which is also the Ellingham & Ringwood RFC pitch so children new to the sport will get to experience playing at a sports venue. Available to all Ringwood Junior School pupils, but limited to 20 places, bookings can be made through the school office.



Ringwood C of E Infants School Taster Sessions

To help introduce younger children to team sport, and rugby in particular, I will be running some rugby taster sessions in September. I'll be running these on behalf of Ellingham & Ringwood RFC to introduce the children to the concept of club sport as well as a new sport, but the key learning factores will be FUNdamental Skills (balance, agility, coordination) as well as ball skills and team building.

Taster sessions will run on September 18th and 19th, from 9am to 10.30am each day. Also planned is a taster After School Club on Friday September 28th from 3.30pm to 4.30pm. Should interest be strong enough, a formal After School Club should follow.