There are no quick fixes to becoming a quality rugby player at the South Western Districts Women’s Youth Training Centre (YTC) in George, where coach Adrian Lameley placed his focus on quality rather quantity in his approach to growing and developing the centre.
The SWD centre is one of eight SA Rugby YTC’s located throughout the country with the purpose of bolstering the women’s game by developing a bigger pool of players and grooming them for top-class rugby. The other YTCs are based at the Blue Bulls Limpopo, Blue Bulls, Border, Eastern Province, KwaZulu-Natal, Griquas, and Western Province rugby unions.
Through the programme players from the ages of 14 to 18 years participate in regular training sessions and matches and have access to conditioning and healthy eating programmes.
The George-based YTC – which was established in 2015 and operates in the Eden and Central Karoo Districts – has doubled the number of participants to 600 since the programme’s inception, and Lameley says he will be satisfied to boost this by another 400 quality players in the next three years.
“There are no quick-fixes to becoming a top athlete,” said Lameley.
“So when a player asks me what she can do to improve her athleticism, I simply tell her to get stronger. Our training programmes include soft tissue work, mobility, core work and speed training, as well as plyometric and explosive training, among other exercises to enhance athleticism.”
Hard work is at the centre of his coaching philosophy and he says this forms an integral part of the way he intends to develop the YTC: “When I started coaching at the training centre, my main focus was on getting big numbers.
“But I have since shifted the focus to recruiting young ladies that have the potential to become quality players and for whom the positive effects of this programme will be permanent.”
Similarly to the other YTC’s, the SWD centre offers weekly training sessions where the participants work on all the key areas of the game including passing, tackling effective kicking and breakdown skills, while they also receive eating plans to ensure that they have the necessary nutrition to perform to their best of their ability on the field.
To Lameley, however, the programme has far more significance than developing quality players, it also plays a vital role in developing successful people.
“My philosophy on sport is that it is a vehicle to help teach young people great skills so they can become successful contributors to society,” said Lameley.
“There are countless statistics linking sport among the youth to their emotional and physical well-being. By the time they reach adolescence, however, 50% of the participants would no longer be involved. But despite this, sport and the benefits it offers, assist them in shaping their adult lives.
“Further statistics prove that young ladies participating in sport are less likely to take drugs, fall pregnant and are more likely to graduate than people who do not participate in sport, and those factors are crucial in the significance of this programme to us at the YTC.”
Girls between the ages of 14 and 18 wishing take up rugby and individuals in and around George who would like to get involved in the YTC can contact the centre’s administrator, Sihle Diko on firstname.lastname@example.org