Lockdown | Stormers coaches learning from other sporting codes

Lockdown | Stormers coaches learning from other sporting codes
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Rito Hlungwani (forwards coach), John Dobson (head coach) and Labeeb Levy (skills coach and performance analyst) during a Stormers training session (Gallo Images)

With the country currently in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Stormers coaches are tapping into other sports to broaden their knowledge.

The Cape side’s forwards coach, Rito Hlungwani, said the coaching staff are in constant contact over the different insights they have gained.

“Before we left, we wrote down a few things that we could do to further improve ourselves as coaches during the lockdown,” he told the Stormers’ official website.

“Dawie (Snyman, backline and attack coach) just sent some interesting information on Aussie Rules, so he is looking at a different code to find an edge. I am looking at the NBA, there are a few things that I have picked up there. Dobbo (John Dobson, head coach) is well-read and he is reading a little bit more now.

“So that is probably the way we are keeping ourselves motivated in terms of learning from other coaches and other codes, so that when we come back we come back better as well. That is one thing that I think we have done well and that is the main motivation now, to come back better. Learn, read, watch as many videos as you can, join as many webcasts as you can and then we discuss it once a week amongst ourselves,” he said.

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Hlungwani, who played lock for Western Province during his playing career, said added that this unusual period has forced everyone out of their comfort zones.

“We are in constant communication with the players, just to gauge where they are, how we can help. It is a challenging time and we are working hard to make sure that we are very supportive to all the players and the staff.

“The nice thing about being at the Stormers right now is that in terms of rugby playing ability and experience, we have all of that. But now we are getting tested in terms of our interpersonal skills. Lending an ear of support and giving a little bit of advice. It is a challenging time, but that is something that we as coaches recognise and we are working hard to make sure that we contribute to the positivity of the group morale and players individually.”

He added that he was confident that the hard work the players have been putting in on their individual skills in lockdown will pay off once they are able to train as a group again.

“We have got our lineout system and at this stage what we have done is separated the parts of the system and focused on improving them individually. As soon as we come back we will fine-tune their interactions, the hookers will come back better throwers, the jumpers will come back a little more explosive and so will the supporters.

“On that side of things I am pretty happy with how it is going, but the challenge which we should be able to sort out pretty quickly, is the interaction of each position, the timing and all the nitty gritty that you want in the lineouts.”

When Super Rugby was halted, the Stormers were seventh on the log standings with four wins from six matches.

However, all indications are that if the game resumes they will contest a local competition with South Africa’s other Super Rugby sides – the Sharks, Bulls and Lions – as well as PRO14 outfits the Cheetahs and Southern Kings.

– Compiled by Sport24 staff

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