A few days after the last South American Women's Sevens fixtures concluded, the regional association worked with a group of 10 women’s coaches from six countries for a week on their preparation and technical development.
Those chosen completed five days of training at Casa Pumas, the Unión Argentina de Rugby team’s HQ, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires.
#CoachingFemenino | ¡Así fue la Academia de Coaching Femenino! 👏🏼— Sudamérica Rugby (@sudamericarugby) November 30, 2021
10 entrenadoras de la región 💪🏼 participando en una semana sin precedentes para el crecimiento de nuestro rugby 👏🏼
¡Seguimos creciendo!#ElRugbyNosUne pic.twitter.com/2D2JIc6f84
The week was divided into two parts. The first part consisted of World Rugby’s Educators Course, enabling the coaches in attendance to train other coaches. The second part was aimed at their coaching development, enabling them to train different teams in their countries, emphasizing the order and discipline needed in the role.
“We completed an academy that began virtually last year with 21 coaches from the region, from Guatemala in the north to Argentina in the south, with different quotas depending on the number of players and participants,” explained Martín Bassino, Manager of Education and South America Rugby Training.
“This year, the project continued with a practical clinic in Buenos Aires; it began with the closing of the Educators Course, working on the principle that these coaches later share the knowledge they are acquiring, promoting the participation of women in rugby."
Leadership, goals and new beginnings
Sudamérica Rugby's goal is to have 10 high level women’s coaches, empowering them in their work with players, and other coaches from their countries.
With the technical leadership of the experienced Rodolfo Ambrosio, and the invaluable help of the technical staff of the Argentine Rugby Union, work was done both on and off the field, in combination with training sessions with youth players of the Buenos Aires Rugby Union.
Baby Futuro, a stalwart of rugby in the region having played for Brazil between 2004 and 2020, celebrated the beginning of a new process.
"We are starting to play 15s rugby and I see we are at the beginning of a new era for women's rugby in South America; I am convinced that 15s will bring more women to rugby and we’ll be able to develop more players," said Baby.
“Today, development is going very fast and if we do not evolve towards 15s, then we will be regressing in relation to the rest of the world. 15s is the best way to continue growing."
With respect to the women’s coaching, she added: “It is essential to train more women involved with rugby, helping rugby grow. It is crucial so that, in turn, we can train more women and establish a chain of growth that will occur naturally."
In charge of the technical coordination and coaching of the attendees was Rodolfo Ambrosio, who said: "Sudamérica Rugby is constantly doing interesting things in the development of the game; with women's rugby it is working to develop the entire region.
“The women’s side is growing rapidly, underpinned by fierce dedication and professionalism. The women who participated are former players and have knowledge. They are already involved in the game which is very positive.”
The bigger picture
Claudia Contreras, a former Venezuelan player, arrived from El Salvador, where she coaches.
"I came to seek knowledge, tools and to share with other trainers in the region who have different experiences.
#CoachingFemenino | Natalia Justiniano💬 "Voy a tener la oportunidad no sólo de aplicar sino también de transmitir esto"— Sudamérica Rugby (@sudamericarugby) December 14, 2021
Te compartimos la experiencia de Natalia Justiniano 🇵🇾 entrenadora participantes de la Academia de Coaching Femenino organizada por SAR 🔝#ElRugbyNosUne pic.twitter.com/uf93dw1QJ7
“It was a pleasant experience of human quality; I got a certificate to educate and transfer all those things that I experienced here and to help rugby grow a little more in the region where I am.
“There is much to do and much to develop. One of the goals is to make the region grow and ensure that Central American countries, one of which is El Salvador, can jump onto this wave of female development, raise the general level, have more participation and competition."
Participants were: Lisette Martínez (Colombia), Claudia Contreras (El Salvador), Beatriz 'Baby' Futuro, Rafaela Turola and Lariane Prune (Brazil), Sara James and Gisela Acuña (Argentina), Úrsula Álvarez and Gissela Castañeda (Chile) and Natalia Justiniano (Paraguay).
Photo: Frankie Deges