Sedgley Park Mini and Junior Section are busy preparing for the new season and looking forward to continuing with the great progress they have been making over the last three years.
Currently the section has 230 playing members and run teams from Under 7 through to Under 18. Prior to this players are introduced to rugby with the Rugby Tots franchise which is based at the club, and acts as a feeder into the U7 team.
The organisational structure of the M+J is via two Section Managers, namely Shelley Wharmby (Juniors) and Colette Stevens (Minis) and two Coaching Coordinators, Phil Anderson (Juniors) and Tony Stevens (Minis). Working alongside these are Jon Lewis (Chairman), Roger Berry (Fixtures) and Ian Berry (Finance). Shelley is also the Safeguarding Officer and Tony and Roger look after Match Day Coordination and training schedules.
Tony Stevens commented:
‘Underpinning everything we do are the RFU Core Values (Teamwork, Respect, Enjoyment, Discipline, Sportsmanship) and our main emphasis is on ‘Making it Fun’. We measure our success on player retention and developing our young players into becoming the best they can be.
The Kids First approach for U7 – U13s is also key in encouraging fun on the pitch and helps to develop children’s character as players and people. We have been chosen to be the Kids First hub for our area and later in the season we will be hosting a networking event for all local clubs.
Finally, RFU Age Grade Rugby is a nationally consistent framework that helps players learn and enjoy the 15 a side game in stages, and puts inclusivity and skill development first.
This season we will also be working closely the main club to look at ways of integrating players as they move from Colts to the Senior sides, and also the skill-set our own home grown players need to give them the best chance of becoming part of our adult teams’.
Shelley Wharmby commented:
‘Safeguarding and the welfare of our youth players, their parents and spectators is something we take very seriously. We are very pleased that this season we will be working with Alan and Ben from Park Lane Performance and Rehabilitation and we welcome our new physio, Chloe. The Medical team will be taking a much more proactive role than previous and will be helping to educate our players in injury prevention and conditioning.
We revamped a lot of our policies and guidelines a few years ago and we use the RFU Game Management System for player registrations and memberships. It is pleasing that we are now regarded as the top club in our area for Safeguarding’.
Colette Stevens commented:
‘We have tried to bring a more corporate approach to running a youth rugby section. Our view is that if we can get it right off the pitch then things will run smoothly on the pitch, and this seems to be working very well. Our aim is to be a healthy and sustainable club rather than the biggest. We also look at other ways of promoting team behaviours and involving the parents in supporting the main club. At the end of every season we host a Players Dinner for all players and parents.
We are very pleased that Pitch 5 is really now moving ahead (thanks to our grounds-team) and we hope to be playing on this from season 2018-19. This pitch, which is a dedicated M+J pitch, will be a great asset to the club and really typifies the ‘one club’ approach we are all working towards.
We are now in the third year of our partnership with Macron as our official kit supplier and their local supply base makes ordering and delivery so much easier.
If anyone is interested in discussing sponsorship opportunities to promote youth rugby at the club, no matter how small, then please do get in touch with me.’
Phil Anderson commented:
‘This is my first season in the Coaching Coordinator role and thanks must go to my predecessor Eddie (Dixon) for his work over the last three years. I have recently achieved the Level 2 Coaching Award and as well as coaching the U14s I spend time going into schools coaching rugby and promoting SP. Coaching techniques have changed so much over the last few years since I was a player, and core skills are now taught via fun small sided games rather than rigid drills. I look forward to working with the other members of the management team this season’.
The M+J section is really leading from the font in many areas and is now regarded as the top youth rugby club in the area. Matches are played on a Sunday morning and kick off at 11am – please come and support these young SP players.