They will be making their impact felt on the pitch in their clash with Wigan tomorrow night, but Leeds Rhinos Women stars Ella Johnson and Keara Bennett have also been looking to the future by gaining their Level 1 Coaching Qualifications with Leeds Rhinos Foundation over the past two weeks.
Recently the charity were offered funding by the Leeds & Hunslet Schools Rugby League Association in order to run coaching courses for players involved with any of the Rhinos teams who have aspirations to take up coaching alongside their playing duties.
Joining the Women’s Super League stars were players from the Leeds Rhinos Academy and Development Academy teams, who were given the opportunity to continue their personal development and open up more pathways towards a career in sport.
The two-day course was delivered by the Foundation’s Rugby League Development Officer Sam Horner who specialises in Coach Education and was able to guide the players through both the theoretical and practical elements to the course, which prepares learners to coach primary rugby league teams (7 to 11 years of age).
As role models for the next generation of Women’s Super League players, both Johnson and Bennett know the importance of being able to pass on their knowledge to help more youngsters learn all aspects of the game.
Speaking about coaching, former Featherstone Lionness Johnson said: “I think it’s really important that we use our platform to give something back. We’ve always had good coaches and I think it’s time for us to impart our knowledge onto younger children to ensure we have more players coming through.
“It’s a fun environment and I’ve always enjoyed coaching, so this was a great chance to become qualified and take the first step onto the coaching ladder.
“You think because you’re a Super League player you probably know everything about the game and how to coach it, but doing this course really breaks it down in how to temper your delivery for children and make it appropriate for different levels. It’s given me a great insight into coaching Primary Rugby League and really helps to contextualise some of the coaching theory into Rugby sessions.”
Steve Boothroyd, Secretary of Leeds and Hunslet Schools Rugby League, commented: “We’re delighted to have offered this Level 1 coaching course to provide some of the Rhinos’ young players with an introduction to coaching.
“The background to the funding is tht John Arm, a former schoolteacher in Leeds who did an amazing amount of work for Schools Rugby League in the city, left some money in his will to help the promotion of junior rugby.
“We felt that the best way to use this money would be to get more people qualified as Coaches in order to provide the best experiences for junior players and help increase participation in the sport, whether that’s out in schools or at community clubs.
“When we realised that Sam Horner would be able to run one of these Level 1 coaching courses at Leeds Rhinos Foundation, we jumped at the opportunity as this was the perfect vehicle to achieve this.”
Leeds Rhinos Foundation delivers an extensive programme of Coaching courses for any aspiring coaches looking to start out by gaining their Level 1 qualification.
For more information, including details of how to get involved with a course, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.