RUGBY: Newly-qualified Kesteven coach Cheetham aims to keep kids playing the game

Weekend rugby union preview.
Weekend rugby union preview.

Kesteven RFC coach James Cheetham is one of 29 newly qualified Level 2 rugby coaches helping to develop the game in Lincolnshire through the QBE Coaching Club, a joint initiative from QBE Insurance and the Rugby Football Union.

As an RFU accredited club, Kesteven encourage their coaches to complete coaching courses and secure qualifications. James believes it’s the quality of coaching that attracts players to the club.

James said: “We’re an accredited club so we need at least one qualified coach. The next step is to have two qualified and so on. That quality helped attract a lot of new players who would otherwise have been lost to rugby.”

Having been out of the game for five years before taking the Level 2 course, James has used the qualification to develop his own skills as well as the skills of the team. He commented: “Personally, I had been out of coaching for a long time, so it was important to bring myself up to speed with the latest in coaching.

“Now I make every session a progression towards the end goal, which is the development of the players.”

“The club has always had reasonable numbers, but we’ve now seen a big increase. There are currently around 270 kids and we have probably added about 30 per cent in the last three years which is great and testament to the standard of coaching.”

As well as attracting new players to the club, retention has been good too. Fewer players have been leaving and James puts that down to the coaching. He said: “You can get kids coming to the club but the important thing is making sure that they enjoy it. The kids need to have fun or they won’t come back.”

James has encouraged the club to set up links with local schools in order to keep the growth of the club’s youth section going. He said: “We have now got a community coach that runs 10 training sessions a week in local schools, encouraging the kids to take up rugby for the first time. The goal is that by keeping these links strong, we will not only get them playing more rugby at school but also attract them down to the club as well.”