Saints Academy staff continued their look at Best Practice whilst 'Down Under' with a visit to NRL Game Development Officer Ross Antonioni.
Craig Richards wrote: We had a great catch up with ex Melbourne Storm, RFL and current NRL Game Development Officer Ross Antonioni.
Ross looks after the feeder programmes in schools and clubs that feed NRL club Parramatta Eels. It was great learning about the successful role the NRL play in schools which culminate with Carnival programme. All programmes are closely linked with the Eels to ensure that the early indicators of talent are recognised.
These include mental skills such as coachability and willingness to work at improving. Whilst performance played a part, participation was always high on the agenda with a large emphasis on fun and learning.
It was notable later in the pathway that the selection of playing squads had a real competitive edge but again mental skills were a large part of the selection criteria.
To follow on from the meeting I was lucky enough to be invited to observe a NRL Level 2 RL coaching course. Again big thanks to Ross and lead tutor Tim Auremi, who is the Development Officer for Sydney West.
Interestingly, one of the Guest speakers was former Panthers player and current Academy coach Ben Harden who gave a great insight into the club’s playing processes, philosophy and methods. Most surprising was how much detailed information was shared with the group considering coaches in attendance included three academy coaches from rival clubs.
This was followed by David Barracosa, Senior Performance Psychologist from Condor Performance, He covered the use of Psychology in sports and shared some great tools to both check, implement and improve mental skills in the game.
Following this was former London Broncos, NSW and current Parramatta Eels Performance Analyst Joe Grima. He broke down the components of how, why and who they analyse and made the key links to performances in both team and individuals.
It showed the value of a world class analysis system when preparing and reviewing at the highest level.