Verulamians get professional help to keep youngsters engaged
- Credit: Archant
Verulamians Rugby Club has been working hard to keep its younger members motivated about sport during the coronavirus pandemic.
Like many sporting clubs, the impact of the lockdown has had a big impact not only on finances but also on keeping the youth sections engaged and fit.
London Colney-based Verulamians is now in its 15th year of mini and junior rugby, with over 200 players from the age of six to 17, and when the health crisis began their coaches needed to come up with ideas to try and keep their skills sharp for next season.
Richard Bradley, mini’s chairman, said: “The coaches had been sending out Whatsapp messages to parents with some fitness drills and we have done a number of ‘pass the ball’ challenges and created videos, but we wanted to do something a little different that would give the kids a bit of a wow factor.”
Bradley and the coaches decided to see if they could create a dedicated training zone with some skills tips for the players and, rather than their usual coaches, thought it might be motivational to get some professional rugby players involved.
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“I was inspired by what I had seen London Colney Youth Football Club had done for their junior players and I thought let’s see if we could do something similar,” added Bradley, who reached out to Matt Williams of Worcester RFC who he knew through work to see if he might help.
Williams, and his brother Jeff who was part of the winning England Sevens team in Hong Kong in 2015, jumped at the chance to help.
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They recorded some basic training drills for the minis and Verulamians RFC were sent further messages of encouragement by Premiership players Anthony Watson and Marcus Watson.
Club chairman Ian Graham said: “I was impressed but not surprised at the effort the coaches went to. We’re lucky to have a great bunch at the club.
“We were really pleased that in such a short space of time we were able to pull something together for the kids. The results have been fantastic.
“We have had lots of positive feedback from the players and the parents and we are delighted as a club we could do something to keep the kids engaged in a sport they love.”
The training drills can be found in the news section of the club website verulamiansrfc.club and all are welcome to watch and enjoy.
Verulamians hope the rugby season will return in September and would love to have more players join in the fun, with Bradley adding: “We are the peoples club of St Albans, we are a proper community club and we welcome players of all ages and experience, with no waiting lists. Just come and give it a try.”