The Allied Rugby Conference 7s Coaching Camp held on the campus of Sam Houston State University this past weekend was a huge success, with 96 players and coaches attending the event led by Al Caravelli and hosted by Sam Houston RFC and the ARC.
The Saturday portion of the camp consisted of a good mix of classroom strategy and on field demonstrations using ARC players. Coach Caravelli shared his extensive international experience on handling, contact skills, defense, fitness, set piece and 7s foundational priniciples.
Caravelli was impressed with what he saw as well, saying: “This event was well organized, the student-athletes were very enthusiatic and this type of event is exactly what USA Rugby needs to raise the level and profile of 7s across the country.”
Johnny Smith, Co-Executive Director of the ARC, said he was very pleased with the turnout.
“The response from the ARC teams shows how hungry they are to improve their programs. I was particularly impressed with OU and Tech as each had a long day’s travel but still showed with 20-plus players,” Smith said. “I think this shows that the teams have bought into the ARC motto of ‘Strength in Unity’- coaches and players worked together regardless of which club they played for. We all know that each team has to improve if we hope to improve as a conference.”
The participants of the camp were happy as well. Nic Lane, Head Coach for ARC Member club Baylor University thought it particularly helpful for his young players.
“It was a great experience for our freshmen to come into this camp, train with players from other clubs and learn from someone like Coach Caravelli. Our club will be better for the event,” Lane said.
The players found the camp was also beneficial to their understanding of the game. OU player Kolby Townsend is excited to apply what he has learned. “It has been a fantastic experience as I have learned a lot. I am looking very forward to applying these skills during the upcoming ARC 7s season.”
ARC members are not the only coaches to have benefited from the event as members from Rugby Texas, Texas Rugby Referee Association, Texas Rugby Union and the Southwest Conference attended the event. The Woodlands Youth Director Phil Beck said, “I think it’s been superb. The kids have gotten a lot out of it and the classroom sessions were particularly good. Just having someone of the caliber of Coach Caravelli lead this camp made it worth it.”
The Sunday portion of the camp was reserved for ARC member clubs with 2 clubs each having a 90 minute session with Coach Caravelli. The 90 minutes consisted mostly of controlled scrimmages in various areas of the game: kickoffs, scrums,lienout, various tatical situations followed with a full 7s match and closed out with a review for each team with Coach Caravelli. Each member team will also be provided film of the session and additional feedback from Coach Caravelli.
“We really wanted to mazimize the benefits for our member clubs” stated ARC Commissioner Kenneth Forehand. “We thought by giving teams individual feedback/time with Coach Caravelli, they could take some real tangibles that directly address certain club specific concerns away from the camp.”
The ARC acknowledged Al Caravelli for taking the time to lead the camp, Sam Houston State University Department of Recreational Sports for hosting, and World Rugby Shop for sponsoring the event with balls and merchandise.