As part of Scarlets’ 3 Counties 3 Years initiative, we have entered into a partnership with learning technology solution specialists Aspire 2Be to deliver a highly innovative performance analysis training programme for Ceredigion’s rugby clubs.
The pilot project, run in conjunction with former coach and now leading media pundit, Sean Holley, will provide free analysis equipment, software and training worth over £20K for one lucky club and its supporting community.
The strategy, launched this summer, concentrates on strengthening partnerships right across the region, county by county. Year One’s focus will be Ceredigion with commercial and community projects being delivered across the county. Year Two will focus on Pembrokeshire whilst Year Three will return to Carmarthenshire. 2018-19’s away kit colour scheme is based on Ceredigion’s coat of arms, sandy beaches and vivid blue seas.
“Since transferring my analysis experience from the professional game to the television there has been a very encouraging response”, said Sean. “The modern rugby person now has an increasing awareness of analysis and is more digitally aware. The innovative ‘Analyse That’ initiative in collaboration with Aspire2Be now makes it easier and more affordable for the community clubs to access what can be an expensive aspect of the game. The Scarlets should be applauded for entering into this partnership and I can’t wait to work with the Ceredigion clubs and schools to help them upskill and improve their rugby experience in this initial pilot.”
‘We know that performance analysis and feedback are major differentiators in the betterment of rugby team performance’ said Nia Lloyd, Scarlets Community Manager. ‘We want all our community teams at every level, to strive to improve performance but in the absence of detailed analysis and feedback protocols being available at each club, a major aid to that improvement is missing’, she added. ‘Our research leaves us in no doubt how useful these resources would be but few clubs can afford the hardware, the software or the training necessary to provide it’.
‘In conjunction with Aspire 2Be, all six Ceredigion Clubs were invited to an analysis workshop with Aberystwyth RFC the lucky club walking away with free analysis equipment, software and training worth over £10K. In addition, the club will also have the opportunity to nominate a secondary school in their area to also participate in the programme and for them too, to receive a further £10k package for use at their school. We want to encourage each club to establish strong club-school pathways and we see this initiative as an excellent opportunity to do this’ she went on.
Professional rugby organisations like the Scarlets offer as many as 47 different career pathways; analysts are included and central to that figure, being well regarded and highly paid. ‘As keen as we are to nurture and recruit our own stock of players and coaches’ Nia Lloyd added, ‘we represent our community and our community supports us. We have many staffing needs and need digitally skilled staff to guarantee our future. You may not have the playing skills but you may have the digital skills to drive us forward’.
Indeed, digital skill development is very much at the forefront of this initiative. Rural counties like Ceredigion often suffer from digital exclusion. Wales is on the bottom rung of the UK ladder in terms of the level of digital skills in the national workforce. The Scarlets hope that this programme will help kick start the acquisition of these digital skills in an enjoyable and engaging way, that not only benefit the club but also the individuals involved.
The clubs who weren’t successful in winning the prize money, will still be offered the opportunity to send selected members on an exclusive training course free of charge and be offered further guidance from Scarlets and Aspire 2Be, in full collaboration with Sean Holley, on how they can obtain an additional training and equipment budget, to allow them to join a burgeoning Ceredigion County wide digital performance analysis community.
Jon Williams, Managing Director of sponsors WRW, whose company’s funding fuelled the project’s momentum from concept to reality said, ‘WRW are delighted to be associated with such an innovative and powerful initiative. Our sponsorship is going to positively impact on the community that supports us. Wales lags far behind the rest of the UK with regards the level of digital skills in the workforce. We in the construction industry need people with just these type of skill sets, delivered in an engaging, relevant and interesting way through the power of sport and the Scarlets’ rugby brand.’