U12 COACH CORNER (2017 - 2018 Season)



Head Coach: Philip Lynch

Team Coordinator: Susan Wheeler


                                U12 COACH CORNER


VF U12 Weekly Update: Week 11th September 2017

Hi all,

Hope you and the boys have recovered from the heat on Sunday – that was intense! Few things to highlight this week:

Update: Coaches Corner

Another really good session for the boys who are quickly getting back into the swing of things. We emphasized the following points during practice:

1. Passing. Receiver has hands ready to receive the ball in a “W”; receiver needs to communicate loudly and clearly if he wants the ball; receiver should be deep so he can read the name of the passer on his shirt; the passer should follow through and point to the receiver upon release of the ball “dab”

2. Rucking: player going into contact should be low and lead with his shoulder; present the ball preferably with a pencil to create a narrow gate; minimum of 2 boys to secure the ball; closest 2 boys do the rucking, don’t wait for someone else to do the work; come in low and get under the opposing player “break the window”; second boy to ruck needs to join the face of the ruck not the first player’s hips

3. We celebrate contact victories (good tackle, turnover ball, counter-rucking) more than glory moments. We are all about the team. We will stop practice matches on poor decisions to demonstrate the better option and award a turnover for going alone when the better option was to pass.

4. Small sided games are working to ensure boys are getting lots of “game moments”.

Over the next couple of weeks we will begin positional work, particularly in the forwards. Please continue to encourage the boys to take responsibility for their own actions and outcomes – water bottles, mouth guards, confirming practice, helping with clearing up cones and tackle bags etc.

I look forward to seeing everyone on Sunday and good luck to the boys playing in the World Challenge tournament on Saturday (particularly Scotland :-))

Update: Kit

  • Thanks for all the feedback on the boy’s and coach top sizes in the kit that was issued last week. It was pretty much unanimous that the tops are quite ‘roomy’ (to quote Keir)!
  • Keir is in contact with Kukris on this – look out for update as to how this is will be addressed.
  • For now, please have the boys wear last year’s kit to training.
  • Any kit not picked up last week will be there this week.

Reminder: U12 World Cup Challenge

  • Susan has sent a separate email with further details / logistics to all those participating on Saturday. Please let her know if you have any questions.

Reminder: Player Objectives

  • We are nearly there on the getting all the player objectives back in. If you have not sent them to Susan yet, please do so before practice on Sunday! 
  • On a side, it’s great to see a lot of the boys are now signing up with their own email addresses on Teamer and actioning the requests by themselves. If your son has not yet done so, please encourage him!

Reminder: Recruitment

  • Don’t forget there is a Recruitment Day on Sunday 24th Sep.
  • On this day, training will happen at The Fort. Please encourage the boys to invite their friends along. Please let Susan know if you are bringing anyone.

Reminder: Social

  • We are still finalising a date for the U12 social. Should have details next week.

As always, please don’t hesitate to get in contact if you have any questions!

Philip, Martin & Susan


VF U12 Weekly Update: Week of 4th September 2017

Update: Coaches Corner w/ Philip & Martin

Great start to the new season -- probably because I wasn't there! Feedback from Martin and the other coaches:

  • ‘It is hot!! We will try to make sure we have enough breaks and end early if needed while it remains baking.’
  • ‘The boys seemed to get back into the swing of things quickly. Some of the handling drills may have been a little complex and we will look to adapt in the coming weeks.’
  • ‘We want to make sure everyone is playing at the appropriate level and not placed in a team based on prior year's performance. Thus we have drills with players of varying levels. We will monitor this to make sure that players are challenged appropriately. We will continue to review groupings for drills.’
  • ‘The small sided games are designed to get everyone as much "player action" as possible. It seemed to work very well. Closer to tournaments we will expand to 12-a-side.’
  • Perhaps the last word should belong to Martin who is not known for hyperbole: ‘We look to have a really talented bunch of boys and I'm looking forward to a great season ahead!’

Update: U12 World Cup Challenge

  • Saturday 16th September @ Kings Park, 11am – 5pm.
  • Thanks for all your responses - we have a total of 19 boys participating in the tournament!
  • The tournament has a total of 260 boys and girls participating from clubs all over Hong Kong and promises to be a fun filled event!
  • Please note that the organisers will try their best to assign a child to one of their preferred countries but this may not be possible in all cases.
  • Susan will share further details on logistics etc as soon as we have them.

Reminder: Player Objectives

  • If we have not yet received son’s objectives, please do so no later end of training this Sunday – see previous emails or under 'Docs' on Teamer for form.
  • These objectives are an important input to their development and as a measure of achievement at season end.

Reminder: Kit & Essentials

  • Kit will now be distributed this upcoming Sunday 10th Sep at training.
  • Please refer to Keir’s email for info about mouthguards and Xblade boots – you can find a copy under the Documents section in Teamer.

Reminder: Recruitment

  • Don’t forget we are running a Recruitment Day on Sunday 24th Sep.
  • On this day, training will happen at The Fort for all Mini Boys. Please encourage the boys to invite their friends along. Please let Susan know if you are bringing anyone. More details to follow.

As always, any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to get in contact!


Philip, Martin and Susan


VF U12 Coaches Corner: Week 28th August 2017

Dear Parents,

We are really sorry we were not able to hold the kick-off as planned on Sunday. Given that we were not able to roll this out to the boys, we thought it might be useful to brief you on some of the key themes we plan to work on during the season and the overall structure of the year. Feel free to share with your sons.

We are playing as one squad throughout the year with players allocated to an A team and B team after several weeks of practice. If numbers grow we could add a third team but this is not likely given our current playing pool. Matches are 12-a-side so the A and B teams will be 15 or 16 boys each. All boys have an equal shot at making their target team based on their ability, potential and attitude. We will be flexible moving boys between the teams depending on individual progress during the season.

U12 is the last year of minis and the boys will be playing colts next year. To transition the boys from the “festival” approach (everyone gets a medal and no team rankings), the boys will play for the Richard Hawkes Trophy at five tournaments over the season culminating in a Grand Final. The competition has a league structure at each tournament with promotion and relegation between groups. I would expect that VF1 will start in the top group and that VF2 will start in the second or third group of four or five teams (first teams of smaller clubs and second teams of bigger clubs).

Our other big tournaments for the year will be KL and the Tai Pan Cup. In addition, we will arrange some smaller-sided friendlies against other clubs and introduce the sevens format.

Please also be aware that some boys may target selection for the Hong Kong Island U12 representative team. This is the beginning of a national age grade process for HK national U14. I don’t have any details on this yet but I would encourage those players that think this is an attainable goal to include it in the Personal Goals section of the questionnaire.

We plan to continue the expansive, running style of rugby we have developed over the past several years. Our key focus will be on developing rugby intelligence and decision making. We will try to expose players to different positions to develop overall awareness.

We are also planning to ask more of the players in terms of self-motivation and organisation. Until now, much of their rugby development has been quite prescriptive as is appropriate for the age group. However, increasingly, we would like the team to be player-led. Please help us by encouraging the boys to be on time, wearing the right kit, ready to assist with set-up, managing their own water etc etc. We will try to offer leadership opportunities to numerous players at different points of the season.

We will also continually emphasise the importance of teamwork and endeavour to instil rugby’s unique values.

Last but not least, fun is the most important element and we will try to make training as enjoyable as possible and light hearted at the right moments while continuing to run some social events throughout the season.

As always, feel free to reach out with any comments, suggestions or questions at any time. 

Philip and Martin