The Trinidad & Tobago Rugby Union (TTRU) has continued its commitment to growing Rugby, even during COVID-19, with its Ball in Hand Development Project. Conceptualised by local Player and Coach, Schezelle Fleming, the Ball in Hand initiative has now developed into a successful implementation of Rugby Americas North’s (RAN) own Get Into Rugby programme. RAN has already donated 100 rugby balls for the project.
Fleming, a member of the TTRU’s Development Committee and National Youth Coach, initially developed the concept to keep her South East Port-of-Spain (SEPOS) Ruggers active during lockdown. Realizing that most players did not own their own ball and could not practice at home, she came up with the Ball in Hand idea.
“COVID-19 was a challenge for many of my players at SEPOS who would have lost not just the ability to play rugby but also, the positive community and environment that rugby provides. So it was a way to maintain that community even if it was online and reducing player dropout, while also continuing to build rugby skills within the lockdown restrictions.” (Fleming)
She further explained that “The project is one she is really excited about, as the idea of having a rugby ball available in as many homes as possible not only increases the awareness of the sport around the islands, but also encourages everyone, both young and old, to get active and embrace the rugby community. I am enthus iastic about how far this project can go and I look forward to having a rugby ball available in every home and community.”
TTRU’s Vice President, Don Sucre who is coordinating the project along with the Interns, Wayne Garrette, Tsevi Rajkumar, Mathew Braithwaite and Geddes Phillip, to expand the project nationwide had this to say, “The interns have been very cooperative with the distribution and providing exercises for the kids in the Ball in Hand project. I am excited to see rugby spread across both islands particularly, the joy of the kids who are having fun while learning rugby for the first time.” Sucre also thanked RAN, the regional governing body for rugby in the Americas for their support of the project.
The Ball in Hand Development Project will take place in a number of series to get balls out to aspiring rugby aficionados to engage and bring more people into the game. Once selected, participants will have the opportunity to become ambassadors of rugby. In addition to receiving a rugby ball, persons will have activities to follow via video and will be grouped with others to create a virtual environment for developing rugby camaraderie. Using video and social media platforms, they will showcase their participation to promote themselves and rugby.
The next ball distribution series will be in partnership with The Scout Association of Trinidad & Tobago (TSATT). Anyone who would like to be a part of the project and Get Into Rugby, can register via the link https://tinyurl.com/yzxxtehz. You can also find the link on the TTRU’s social media platforms – @ttru868.