AT a time when most winter sports people have hung up their boots for the season and headed to the beach for some fun in the sun, North Coast Academy of Sport's (NCAS) Rugby Squad have been working hard on their skills and fitness through a series of off-season camps over the summer months.
Just one month after the squad was selected in October, the squad's first camp was held at St John College Woodlawn in very humid conditions.
NCAS Rugby's new head coach Rod Butterfield, with the support of his two assistant coaches Don Darke and David Moppett set down a plan and work ethic to the new squad member that aimed to see them develop their skills and fitness to the point of being ready for the strong start to the 2009 winter season.
“We are encouraging our athletes to commit to their best off-season and pre-season preparations,” Butterfield said.
“When you have 20 other squad members also committing to improve, it's a lot easier to stay committed when the training gets tough.
“When other players are striving to quickly find fitness early in the season prior to country and zone selections, our NCAS squad members will be enjoying the reward of the off-season training efforts.”
Just prior to Christmas, the squad headed to the scenic foothills of Tyalgum for a two-day session with the NCAS coaching team and members of the Gold Coast Breakers' coaching and development program.
In stifling heat and tropical rains, the squad underwent another tough series of skills and fitness sessions which were tailored to improve individual's weaknesses and team dynamics.
Coaching staff were impressed with the players' improvements and the way they took to their tasks with enthusiasm in the trying conditions.
A highlight of the weekend was the high wire ropes course, a personal challenge which was taken to with enthusiasm by most of the squad.
NCAS Rugby, which is sponsored by Rugby Gold Coast and endorsed and supported by NSW Rugby, is made up of emerging rugby juniors age selected from the Far North Coast and Mid North Coast Rugby Zones.
The next squad session will take place in February at Grafton and will be followed up with two further camps before the squad heads off to the ClubsNSW Academy Games in Armidale during April.