The UCC Rugby Academy was established in the summer of 2000 as a comprehensive elite player development programme. The Academy aims to identify and develop potential provincial and international players who will be equipped with the knowledge, skills and competencies required to succeed in the professional era, both on and off the pitch.
To Nurture and Develop the Characteristics and Skills Necessary in the Pursuit of High Performance Rugby through the Provision of a Professionally Structured Programme of Fitness, Rugby, Mental and Personal Skills
An Academy can be defined as a place of education or specialised training; a society of men united for the promotion of excellence in learning and training where the objective is to:
While the aim of the UCC Rugby Academy is to fast- track players to senior AIL, under 19/21 interprovincial/ international representative levels as well as senior interprovincial development level, and beyond, the Academy creates an environment conducive to the development of a career that will extend beyond rugby. On completion of the UCC Academy programme we expect the individual to have attained a level of sporting excellence together with the complementary life skills necessary to sustain a productive career.
Objectives of the UCC Rugby Academy
The UCC Academy , like the IRFU Provincial Academies, is an elite player development programme and is closely aligned to the IRFU elite provincial programmes. The programme is structured to enable the player to maximise his potential and the strategy is designed so that players realise their full potential.
The following are the key objectives of the UCC Rugby Academy:
- To enhance the attractiveness of UCC to the leading players at schools/youth level to ensure they see the value and opportunities of starting their senior playing career in UCC.
- To recruit and retain players capable of playing at the highest level and also to ensure all quality players studying in UCC play rugby with UCC.
- To identify latent/emerging talent from within the club and offer support to these players with a view towards Academy consideration.
- To provide the highest standards of coaching, fitness training, team performances, in line with IRFU structures, that lead to a greater visibility and exposure of those players at representative levels – UCC Academy operates as a shop window for potential representative players.
- To provide for the highest level of fitness development in terms of strength, power, endurance, and speed together with a sound knowledge of optimum nutrition advice. Injury prevention and management, together with recovery modalities complement the work done on fitness and nutrition.
- To provide for a high level of technical, tactical and psychological skill development that supports IRFU methods in raising the standard of the game.
- To provide an individual development programme for players based on strengths, weaknesses and skill deficits analysis through prioritised goal setting and one-to-one assistance.
- To offer supervision and feedback that will motivate and encourage the player to maximise his development and achieve performance goals.
- To offer players state-of-the-art facilities and resources that will facilitate and accelerate player development/ rehabilitation from injury through the UCC Mardyke Arena, UCC human performance laboratory and expert physiological, medical/physiotherapy back up.
- To create an atmosphere conducive to personal development in terms of responsibility for time management, planning, organisation and control.
- To offer Academic support through the Academic liaison officers on campus.
- To provide financial support to players at Levels 1 – 4.
Content of The UCC Rugby Academy Programme
The Academy programme is an integrated and progressive player development and education programme based on the following five modules:
1. Fitness Development
- Strength & Muscle Mass Development
- Speed & Agility
- Multi Sprint Endurance
- Core strength
- Injury Prevention, Management and Rehabilitation
2. Technical Development
- Application of the Laws
- Individual Skills (i.e. handling, evasion, running, tackling, decision making, cue identification, continuity etc)
- Positional Skills
- Mini Unit Skills
- Unit Skills (attack, counter-attack & defence)
3. Tactical Development
- Application of the Laws
- Game Plan & Patterns of Play
- Key Factor Analysis -individual
- Match Analysis
- Tactical Appreciation – Decision Making
4. Mental Skill Development
- Motivation & Goal-setting
- Concentration: Focus under pressure
- Activation: Match preparation and pre-match routines
- Responding to competitive stress
- Imagery: Inner theatre becomes reality
- Mental planning for optimum performance
5. Personal Development
- Time-management, planning & personal organisation
- Positive principles of training/recovery, nutrition & lifestyle
- Career guidance
- Study & exam techniques