ASIA PACIFIC E & T Conference Report May 2017

  • May 26, 2017

The Conference was held in Sydney over May 2 – 6, 2017. It was jointly sponsored by RLIF and ARL/NRL. Courses for both Coaching & Refereeing Course Providers were held. Nations attending included Fiji, Cook Islands, Tonga, Samoa, South Africa, Hong Kong, Vanuatu, Philipines. Several others were invited but, for a variety of reasons, were unable to attend. In all, 23 people attended, although, with casual attendees, there was a larger number at some sessions.. Proceedings were conducted in two streams, one for Coaches, by Peter Corcoran OAM, the APC Education & Training Manager and former ARL/NRL National Education & Training Manager; and a second, for Referees, by Barry Ruttle NSWRLRA. Both are experienced and highly credentialed educators.

Three sessions, of 2 – 2.5 hours each, were held each day – some on General Principles (Theory) and several on Sport Specific (Rugby League) issues.
The newly reviewed and revised APC Education & Training Schemes were rolled out over the Conference with personnel being accredited as National Course Providers at the end of the Courses.

A program of pilot courses and restricted courses was designed, discussed and planned to fully acquaint the Providers with the new formats and to build confidence in Course Presentations and Protocols. New Levels of Accreditation, Syllabi, Operation proposals, Presentation outlines, Assessment protocols and Accreditation Certificates were adopted.
Feedback from all involved was both complimentary and encouraging. A program of Newsletters will create and maintain lines of communication. The first of these Newsletters has already been sent. The second will discuss the use of the internet to gain examples of Rugby League training drills and strategies. The new Providers were encouraged to contact the educators for assistance at any time. Several have already been in contact for on-going advice and assistance.

An interim report was given to the representatives at the APC Delegates Conference held in Campbelltown NSW, on May 6, 2017.
COMMENTS (from observation and dialogue at the Conference).

  • All attendees were practicing coaches or referees. The transition from coach to coach educator, however, is not an easy one even for people involved in education and training. Some attendees arrived with a notion that they were attending a coaching / refereeing course. The paradigm shift was, conceptually, relatively new to them. To their credit, they embraced the new concept with enthusiasm.
  • Some attendees were relatively young. They will need full National and Regional Board support to confidently implement the Courses and Schemes. Resistance from coaches who have “been around” [uneducated in the finer points of coaching / refereeing and unaccredited, of course] is to be expected. Unfortunately, many coaches and referees, in the field now, believe that “practice {of anykind} makes perfect” – while, in effect, only “perfect practice makes perfect”. These new Providers have been charged with supplying this “proper practice” knowledge and have been given the necessary tools to accomplish this task. They will, also by necessity, need further education & training “on site” to achieve the confidence and approach to succeed in their tasks which are so vital to the development / progress of Rugby League in APC member and “observer” nations. This is particularly true where the Providers are young and may not be as accepted by the older coaches and referees as they should.
  • The people of the APC nations have, over time, shown a great appreciation of opportunities to learn new skills and approaches. They learn best, predominantly, by practice and actions – i.e. on the field rather than in the classroom. Emphasis on this was a highlight of the Conference. That’s not to say that insights into player management [coaching / refereeing theory] is not important. They are, most definitely. Even these can be done in a “practical sense” and this, also, was stressed and demonstrated at the Conference. “Game Sense”, for example, is the newer way to train and this approach was encouraged. New ways, however and as already mentioned, are not readily accepted. All Providers will need great help & support along the way.
  • There are very few initiatives – in any business, that are not underpinned by financial considerations. There are, of necessity, some basic training aids, or pieces of equipment, that are fundamental to the success of any training program. Such items are footballs and cones / markers. Technology cannot be ignored and most educative courses of any description require, for example, the use of a computer. Sponsorship for the E & T Schemes may be a possibility for nations to consider. A small fee for courses is a consideration, with the funds contributing to the supplying, to Providers, the necessary equipment for as efficient an operation as possible. It is highly improbable that success will occur without the necessary “tools of trade” being available.
  • All initiatives need to be SMART, i.e. Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time-bound. The issues of specificity, realism and actionable operation have been incorporated into the Schemes’ processes and protocols. The factor of time is relevant only in that the best times for operation are pre or post seasons when the availability of personnel is, usually, unhindered. Measurability is an important factor and is taken into consideration by the keeping of records from courses – both for those completing the courses themselves [coaches or referees in-training] or for those who, after assessment, are accredited. Little of this was done after the initial 2014 courses, with the result that the current records of education & training are very incomplete. This is an important issue for National Boards and Management in order to prove to Governments and their Sport / Recreation Departments that Rugby League prizes highly the welfare of its players through the appointments of only accredited coaches and referees.


There would be few (if any) APC nations whose sports have the means, at their disposal, for the Education & Training of their officials that Rugby League has now.

Some may have educative processes and protocols controlled from their International Bodies and delivered by (outsider) visiting personnel. This can be successful – up to a point. Visitors are rarely fully aware of the cultures, perceptions and expectations of those to whom they deliver education.
Not so Rugby League and, especially, the APC hierarchies. Schemes acceptable to all and delivered by “local’ personnel are far more likely to produce the benefits needed where individual cultures are concerned. Knowledge must be “customized” to be effective. Expertise must deliver on the expectations of a nation.
The door is now open for the APC (and RLIF) to promote Rugby League in a most acceptable manner — the best possible performances of its players.

1. National Bodies, Boards and Management, must promote the APC Schemes at all levels of Government and Sport within their nations. Value to the community is an important aspect of the programs. Our courses are planned to build character as well as Rugby League expertise.
2. National Boards and Management must show full approval of the APC Schemes through vocal and tangible support of the Course Providers. This adds an aspect of empowerment to the Providers in their delivering of the courses. It would be of great benefit if, at course or sessions within courses, a representative of the Board or Management were present. Such a representative might open the course / session and outline the importance of education and accreditation to coaches and referees.
3. Only accredited Coaches and Referees should be authorized / appointed by Management and Clubs at all levels in any approved competitions.
4. Course Providers and National Management need to work diligently to determine the level of accreditation of coaches / referees who have undergone education & training in the years prior to 2017. Recognition of Prior Learning is a universally acceptable means of accepting expertise gained, through a variety of educative processes, in the years prior to the current APC Schemes being implemented.
5. National Management to work closely with Course Providers to maintain Accreditation Records for coaches and referees from 2017. The keeping of records on course numbers, the number of attendees and the details of graduands is vital to the success of the Schemes and the future funding of the programs. This would also provide models for other education & training initiatives in the future, e.g. admin, sports trainers.
6. On-going supervision, support and assistance for the Providers has been mentioned several times in this report. APC Education & Training personnel are available to visit nations to work with the new Providers to ensure that all are “heading in the same direction” and the envisaged benefits of the Schemes are realized. RLIF must acknowledge the work being done to develop the code. APC representation on the RLIF Board must vigorously pursue financial assistance for visits to all nations. We are on the cusp of great progress. To falter would be disastrous.
7. The next Education and Training Conference is proposed for 2019. The records must surely show the progress made. National Boards and Managements are to seek regular reports from Providers. Such on-going statistics are important to APC and RLIF in their gauging of progress.