October, 2011 Archive

Wensleydale vs Ripon, U10 & U12 Rugby

Today the kids played in their first competitive rugby match for Ripon Rugby Club. They have been training with the squad for the last couple of weeks and this morning we set off early (hangovers and all) up into the Dales to a cold and blustery Leyburn. The rugby club is set in a great location but is pretty open to the elements, so we made sure we had lots of warm layers on, and the tea and bacon sandwiches certainly helped. Ripon won both the U10 and U12 matches which was great, and the kids really enjoyed getting stuck in. Here are a couple of action shots!

Ethan on the left facing the opposition, with the clubhouse in the background

Ethan about to get the pass and charge forwards

The U12 team with Miles in the middle of the picture on the wing

Miles about to be heavily tackled after being taken out

‘A4UExpo Bavarian Beer and Sausage on Stand 50’

So the challenge is on to see who can take the top slot for ‘a4uexpo Bavarian Beer and Sausage on stand 50’ to win the State of Search competition.

I know it won’t be me as Dave is currently hitting the top slot with his post from last week on ‘A4UExpo Bavarian Beer and Sausage on Stand 50’ and there is a surge of new posts on other blogs as well as whole sites being created on exact match domains. I will be heading to A4U next week so will be there no matter what but thought I’d challenge my blog to see what strength it has.

So the theme of the post needs to be about how to get the best out of A4U as a delegate so here are my top tips.

It really helps if you register during the pre-event party as it saves you any hassle the next morning. It also helps so that you can see who people are during the evening and start the networking. I’m not sure yet if anyone has come up with a subtle way of reading a person’s name badge without making it look like you’re reading it .. but if you have let me know. We always meet a lot of new people (and old friends) at conferences and its often hard to remember all the names.

The next tip would be to really watch what you drink at the parties, and make sure you don’t miss dinner. It’s so easy to have far too much to drink if the free bar is flowing, and I’ve regretted this many times, and still will do again no doubt.. but there is totally nothing worse than going to a conference the following morning feeling really rough and stinking of beer.

Combined with the last one I’d suggest that you try to drink plenty of water during the day as you’ll easily dehydrate and be even worse the next day.

Then as many other posts are suggesting do the necessary research before the conference starts as to what sessions that you want to see, the track that you will follow, the possible questions that you may have in a session, and to set up any meetings with people you may have only communicated with on Twitter.

There is the networking too, which everyone says .. just go up to someone and start chatting … but I’d say its not as easy as this, and its one of my worst fears. Fortunately I have Dave who doesn’t network as such, but more like attracts a crowd. Often affiliates are a bit cagey about what sector they work in hoping to protect the niche they may be in, so can be a little secretive .. but you should be able to detect the more welcoming guys.. and Dave and I will chat to anyone :)

And last but not least, you must head straight to Stand 50 to get your Bavarian Beer and Sausage and here’s my picture from a session back in April 2009 at Amsterdam … now that was a fun week!

A4uexpo bavarian beer and sausage on stand 50

Pitch side Parenting

We’ve just spent a few hours at the local rugby club watching an Under-11 tournament with about 8 teams competing for a trophy. I thought it would be good for the kids to see some real junior matches as they have both signed up the rugby club and start training next week.

Some of the matches were really tough especially the first match we saw between Ripon and Harrogate. Now there has always been a rivallry between the two towns politically, but this has seeped down into many other things including it seems the junior rugby team too. I was quite surprised, and a little bit shocked by the level of hard tackles in this match of 10 year olds. There were plenty of injuries with some kids having to be carried off the pitch in tears. It certainly made Miles and Ethan think about what they are getting themselves into and Ethan, who is 9 started to get quite nervous about matches.

But what made me feel quite intimidated, and the kids did too as we stood at the touch line watching, was the pressure being put on the team players by the pitch side parents. Not only were the coaches shouting at the team to get across the tactics (which you expect) but the parents were all adding their thoughts too. Shouts of “break them in two”, “get in there”, “tackle hard” were all coming from both the dads and the mums. I can only think that this makes the junior team more fired up and in turn more agressive to the point where the ref had to give both teams a calm down talk as it was getting out of hand.

Of course you want your kids team to win but I just don’t think they need the sort of pressure that the parents bring to the touchline. Each parent is trying to coach their kid and you can see if something goes wrong they feel they have failed. Do matches really need to be this competitive at such a young age, or should it be more about learning the skills and rules rather than injuring the opposition.

I did wonder if there is a different level of coaching in schools as there is as part of a local team. Personally I would prefer my kids to enjoy their sport, but as a priority be fit and well to study at school the following week, whereas perhaps club teams are just all about the win and aren’t thinking about the education side of things which is a top priority at that age. Lets hope that all the kids that took a knock today are all ok and that there were no serious injuries.