Attending on behalf of Dunfermline RFC were coaches from the youth section - Andy Morgan (PCS lead for DRFC & S1 coach), Gary Scott (S2) and Kevin Storie (P4). The event was an excellent opportunity to meet representatives from other clubs and to talk about how each club has implemented the PCS programme, and to share ideas on how to take the programme forward.
We were given an entertaining talk by Tina Syer, who is the Chief Impact Officer of the Positive Coaching Alliance, founded 14 years ago at Stanford University Athletic Department in the US (our PCS programme is based on the PCA initiatives). Her talk reinforced the principles behind the PCS programme; ideas of the 'double goal coach' - aim to win but also teach life lessons through coaching; keep training fun and ensure everyone is being challenged at the right level; adopt a growth mindset where we praise effort rather than outcome. Tina spoke about initial misconceptions about the programme – how it was seen as ‘soft and fluffy’ and political correctness in sport. However, this misconception has universally given way to the realisation that PCS enables us to create an environment to achieve the best possible performance.
Alan and Linda Lawson attended the event, with each taking time to speak to everyone during breaks. As most people will know, Alan is the current SRU president and his wife Linda is Bill McLaren’s daughter; the Bill McLaren Foundation has actively supported and funded the PCS programme within the SRU, since PCS embodies Bill McLaren’s belief that rugby can teach valuable life lessons, and instil discipline and team ethic . It’s very clear that both Alan and Linda see PCS as a way to strengthen Scottish Rugby from the grass roots level and to ensure that the youth in the sport are given the best coaching structure to develop within the sport. Alan gave a characteristically passionate speech on ‘Respecting the Ball’ – for us as coaches to do what we can to motivate our players to work hard in developing their ball skills.
Bosman du Plessis then facilitated discussions on how the clubs have integrated the PCS ideas into the workings and operation of their clubs. We heard much on how PCS has helped engage the community and grow the youth sections of clubs. Andy Morgan gave a well received talk on our youth coaching structure, developed through the PCS programme and linking Long Term Player Development to qualification requirements for coaches.
An excellent event and good to see the SRU’s ongoing commitment to the programme. We can be proud that we are one of the first tranche of clubs to receive the PCS accreditation; the challenge for us is in ensuring that PCS is retained at the heart of what we do in delivering coaching throughout all levels in the club.