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kier

Coach
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  1. The situation is complicated. It is impossible to judge the position of RL without understanding what’s happening to sports participation generally. It is fair to say that no team sport is ever going to achieve the participation rates that they have enjoyed in the past. All team sports are haemorrhaging players. In part it is an issue of injury in collision sports, but it is also an issue of available time. The feedback from many people (adults and kids) is that they begrudge “losing their weekends” to team sport. Clubs in all codes are closing down around the country, the situation is worse in the small provinces than in the big cities. The single biggest drop from team sport is during the shift to high school at Yr. 9. This often coincides with a (perceived?) shift in emphasis to high performance models in kids’ sports. Most of the major sports in NZ shift from clubs to schools for teenage participants. Schools are similarly moving closer to the US model of nurturing a small group of top athletes and social teams are becoming increasingly rare. (an appalling situation imo as the education system is slowly being highjacked by professional sports organisations to do their development for them). Some sports have carved out a niche by only running fixtures after school (volleyball and basketball are the two that spring to mind). RL is, of course, hit by a double whammy in this model. Kids are encouraged to represent their schools….yet few schools offer RL as an option. The collapse of volunteerism is also a real issue. People increasingly treat clubs as services and the coaches and administrators as employees. The burnout of volunteers is a real thing. Small clubs suffer initially. This creates a move to a smaller number of large clubs…..but an unfortunate consequence is that often the focus on a group of “top” players if exacerbated and wider participation falls. I would also argue that NZers have a much wider pool of recreational sports that are routinely done. Part of the shift in sporting habits is that people move from team sports to individual sports. Biking (road, BMX and mountain), surfing, kite surfing, climbing, kayaking, hunting, tramping, skateboarding and running were all listed in ONE class survey of 28 kids that I recently ran in a Year 10 class. Most of these had played a team sport before arriving at high school. There is also the double-edged sword of entering a team into the Australian competition. While it raises the profile of the sport and the individual players, as well as providing a pathway for aspiring players it also devalues the domestic competition. This happened in RL, Basketball and Football. It even had an impact on RU with the NZ provincial competition struggling for finance and attention when it was once the pinnacle of team sport in the country.
  2. Chuffed for AFC Wimbledon :-) From bottom of the pyramid in 2002 to Division 1 .....I'll even put aside my usual dislike of playoffs to determine promotion in this case :-)
  3. Cool - thanks for that. I played with several ex-Surrey Heath players in the 1990s with Reading Raiders RLFC then went on to play for Kingston for several seasons when Reading folded/failed to make criteria for the RLC.
  4. I thought Elmbridge Eagles were Kingston RLFC (simply renamed - same clubhouse etc). Was/is there a link with Wokingham.
  5. Was that the "quarter cask" whisky they brought out? I had a bottle of that a few years ago - wonderful stuff.
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