American Rugby Model
The purpose of the American Rugby Model is to provide an agreed to comprehensive model of rugby development in the United States. This Long Term Athlete Development model is a work-in-progress. The goal overtime is a more coherent road map for US athletes and coaches to succeed on the international stage and to commit to rugby for life.
Development Building Blocks
Beginning - Ball Movement
Rugby fundamentally is a game of moving the ball up the field (or preventing it from being moved up the field) to be in a position to score. This can be done by going around, through, or over the opposition. Going around or through most often requires the creation of space and the movement of the ball to that space and / or numerical advantage(s) that have been created. It is fundamental that as the game grows and improves in the United States, to keep up and eventually surpass other rugby countries, US athletes have an excitement and a base-level ability to move the ball rapidly through quality passing technique, decision making, and support re-positioning ("give and go") to create and re-create numerical and space advantages. At most levels of the game, we have shown to be a rugby nation that enjoys attacking with the ball-in-hand.
The first block for any rugby athlete no matter the age of entry into the sport should include a focus on catching and passing the ball, movement of bodies, and appreciation for rapidly being able to move the ball from one attack channel to another in a dynamic environment.
On the flip-side, the basics of defense are to prevent and / or de-posess the attack from being able to do so. Defending ball movement and attacking using ball movement are fundamental building blocks to future entertaining, fun, winning performances on the international stage.
The ability to go "over the opposition" through quality kick technique, decision making, and delivery is a key work-on and area of improvement needed in USA Rugby national teams (at all age-levels).
A kick is inevitable "only as good its chase". As young and inexperienced athletes begin to experiment with all the various tactical kick opportunities to "attack" and / or gain territory, it is as important players collectively learn how to build chase walls, maintain possessions on "forward pass" kicks, and develop work-ethics to support the high-energy needs of a quality chase.