As part of its 2021 to 2023 Development Plan, the Trinidad & Tobago Rugby Football Union (TTRFU) had the pleasure of hosting two International Coaches in early November 2021. Mr. Robin MacDowell and Mr. Colton Cariaga, who both have experience with Trinidad and Tobago athletes which contributed to their decision to assist with the Union’s Coaches Development.

Recognising that Coaches are a primary contact for athletes and a major driver for the success of Rugby in Trinidad and Tobago, the TTRFU identified the need to reengage its Coaches ahead of planned Training and Education Sessions, to update certification in line with the protocols for the safe return to play.

The Coaching Development Sessions took place in regional pods, North, East, South and Tobago. The reduced travel and overlapping of individuals facilitated contact tracing protocols. The reduced sessions also enhanced the experience with the coaches, who were able to communicate directly in the Development Sessions. In the absence of Club Teams who await the approval to return to play, the National Teams programmes supported the Coaching Development programmes.

Among key areas of focus were how to deliver fundamental skills training in a way that engages athletes, like passing and kicking. Many techniques familiar to our coaches were presented in dynamic ways so sessions felt fresh and exciting, while building core skills that require repetition. In addition to the opportunity for coaches to communicate one on one, meetings were held with various Committees and Clubs to discuss strategies for developing sustainable programming, specifically in relation to restarting rugby in this new environment.

Robin MacDowell – MacDowellRugby Canada
Coach MacDowell is a product of the Canadian National Rugby Programme. He has extensive experience as an International Rugby 7s Coach and his passion for developing the game and creating opportunities can be seen through the projects he takes on and initiates. Presently Mr. MacDowell is Coaching the Cape Town Wild Dogs in the Rugby Tens Championship taking place in Portugal. Trinidad and Tobago’s own, Fayola Jack is a member of the team, representing the country with her talent and work ethic.

Colton Cariaga – Life University, United States of America
In addition to Coach Cariaga’s involvement with USA Rugby, he is a Coach at Life University where Trinidad and Tobago National, Jeron Pantor is a starting back on their rugby team. Mr. Cariaga’s firsthand experience with identifying talent and how a coach’s ability to do so impact athletes’ careers, is a valuable takeaway for the development of our Coaches in Trinidad and Tobago.

The TTRFU looks forward to continuing to build on the development of its Coaches through training and education and to sharing experiences and knowledge with Mr. MacDowell and Mr. Cariaga.