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Spry George for England and grassroots surge
9:58am Thursday 17th October 2013 in Rugby League
THE Rugby League World Cup might be coming to the UK this month but Selby Warriors ARLFC youth coach George Cookson is ensuring England can bid for glory beyond 2013.
Steve McNamara’s England get their World Cup assault underway against Australia on October 26 with realistic hopes of lifting the trophy for the first time with home advantage on their side.
And, while Cookson’s priorities lay with coaching Selby Warriors’ young charges rather than internationals, he is making sure he has a hand in the next generation of stars.
He helped kick off new RFL coaching programme Embed the Pathway, supported by Gillette, at the Leigh Sports Village, which will act as a venue during the upcoming World Cup.
Cookson took part in an inaugural project aimed at the development of players aged 12 to 16, looking specifically at youth coach education, curriculum delivery and player profiling.
More than 60 youth coaches were treated to workshops, led by RFL national player development manager and Scotland assistant coach Dave Rotheram.
Youngsters from Wigan St Judes were also put through their paces to demonstrate to the coaches how to properly take a session and Cookson believes the future of rugby league in Selby will be brighter for the new programme.
Said Cookson: “I think it’s very important to target the younger players in the game. Something we had mentioned as a club before was getting eight and nine-year-olds into the game.
“Going to Leigh and seeing the psychological side and how to talk to children and get them to enjoy the game, I will definitely be pushing for it more when the weather gets a bit warmer next year.
“I was a bit apprehensive as I didn’t know what to expect. What I took from it was that I am not a million miles away in terms of coaching. The idea is to get everyone singing from the same hymn sheet.
“The course is going to benefit the club hugely. I had been hoping to take on an assistant coach next year. From this I have learned what criteria and character makes a good coach for young players, so I will be looking out for that.”
Cookson is adamant the session could not have been better timed with the Rugby League World Cup hopefully opening more eyes to the sport.
“We all saw what impact the Olympics had last year in getting kids into sport,” he added.
“You see a lot more youngsters out kicking a football or a rugby ball about in Selby now.
“Hopefully the World Cup can have the same sort of effect. There have been lots of promises that a coaching course like this was going to happen and it has, and right before a World Cup.
“It’s all about sharing ideas and techniques with different coaches to benefit the kids. I certainly think from my team there are a lot of players that can go on to be future stars.”
• Gillette’s partnership with the RFL and its investment in the RFL coaching programme is part of The Great Start Programme which aims to celebrate and encourage the coaches who will inspire the next generation. For more information visit www.facebook.co.uk/GilletteUK
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