Tuesday’s version of the RugbyTown Crossover Academy’s first camp looked a lot like Monday’s until around lunchtime.
After the last few players trickled into Infinity Park, the team grabbed their box lunch and sat together for the first time ever while Glendale Director of Rugby Mark Bullock spoke.
With masked pulled over their faces, everyone’s eyes were on Bullock as he laid out the plans for this week’s camp and beyond. From there, the players and coaches introduced themselves in a group setting before going over some of the basics of rugby.
This crash course to the sport focused on three key points that the French have used in their approach to the game: Get It, Keep It, Use It.
Bullock explained to the team the importance of getting the ball, keeping the ball once you’ve gotten ahold of it, and using it to win matches. They talked about and answered questions regarding the gain line, the tackle line, and the breakdown among several other topics. This introduction and the first meeting of the week lasted an hour and a half before they split into three groups of nine and headed out to the pitch for over two hours of fieldwork.
Once they hit the field, they worked on everything players work on during their first-ever rugby practice. They started with the basics of passing before moving into rucking drills and drills that worked on depth.
That slowly progressed into draw-and-pass drills, to three on ones by the end of the session. After working in their small groups, they split into even smaller groups to work on patterns in the backline and the basics of the scrum.
Dan Stone and Mark Bullock at the RugbyTown Crossover Academy’s November Camp. (Photo: Colton Strickler)
While the training session was pretty basic, what was interesting to see was the level of engagement that was present throughout the day. These guys aren’t messing around. From the first meeting to the portion of the training session, guys were asking questions, competing, and working to correct their mistakes from the previous rep.
They didn’t come for a vacation to Colorado, they came to Glendale to learn how to play rugby.
Perhaps the most surprising thing of all was that it didn’t look like the first time they had played rugby. They picked up things quickly, and they played at full speed. They showed enough good things in 120 minutes of training to see the potential that exists and make you wonder how good this program could really be if everything goes as planned.
When the session was over, players grabbed their boxed dinner and attended one more classroom session before calling it a day.
Wednesday will be the first full day of camp, and it will consist of two training sessions – one in the morning and one in the evening – with a film and classroom session in the evening to conclude the day.