Spotting an early Rugby TalentOctober 27 2014
All young kids want to think that they are going to be the next George North and it is the duty of the coach to let them believe this. Good, bad or downright hopeless, every child that turns up for weekly training should be encouraged to believe that he or she can one day play for Wales.
If this possibility is nourished, then the children will absolutely give their all – they’ll turn up every week and work their hearts out. Time will soon enough divide them into A Team, B Team and No Team, but whilst they are starting out let’s encourage them all the way.
What you can spot very early is a willingness to try their hardest, listen to their coaches and follow instructions. A kid who has those things, can be coached to a good standard.
The truly talented ones become obvious fairly quickly – hand eye coordination, ability to think on the hoof, body and spacial awareness are inborn traits which are hard to teach.
These children need careful handling so that they keep interested, keep working to improve their ability, but importantly have a rounded childhood where rugby and their talent is a part of their life and not their entire life. If they do become the next great player then that’s wonderful, but a child may decide that despite their innate ability, they just don’t want to pursue a sporting career, or God forbid they could be injured, and for these reasons, as a mini coach and/or keen parent of a great young player, we need to remember that we are not setting out to produce a World Player of the future, but a happy healthy adult.