Our youth teams who train and play in year groups from U15 to U16 are catered for here. This group has a dedicated 2 man coaching team (Hillfoots Youth Coach & Barry Munro) who work with, our RDO (Rugby Development Officer). The usual Hillfoots principles and values apply – “everybody plays”, so there’s plenty of game time for all. In fact, and in all honesty, we need more players in this age group. If you are aged 14 – 15 and fancy learning the game, come along, you can be sure of a really warm welcome. If you already play, encourage your mates to give it a go. Over the years, some great Scottish International rugby players like Finlay Johnston didn’t start playing rugby until they were 16 years old. You never know, it could be you next!
At Hillfoots, we appreciate that some boys may also be playing for their school as well as their club at this age group. We encourage everybody, whether or not Hillfoots is their only rugby during the week, but we are also concious not to over stress players. We like to fit in with, and be complimentary to, our players’ other rugby commitments. We have an ongoing dialogue with local secondary schools to ensure that there is no conflict between club and school rugby.
In our Youth section, we follow the SRU age grade law variations, so there are specific modes of play covering U19 to U15 boys. We continue to focus upon building individual skills as well as increasingly developing the team play and by U16, the boys are really experienced in delivering upon their game winning strategies.
At U16, there are 15 players in a team (8 forwards & 7 backs). If either side cannot field a suitably qualified front 5, the scrums will be uncontested.
To regularly measure “in season” player progress, the coaches & our RDO use individual player assessment tools. These are the same tools as the SRU use in selection for their Caledonia Pathway programme. Not only does this approach give excellent feedback to players, it also enables the Club to make supportable recommendations to the SRU in respect of their Performance Camps which take place in the Spring & Summer of each year.
Our coaching team are also able to make recommendations on individual player fitness levels, lifestyle, well being & nutrition. At this level, gym work (under a supervised programme created by the Club’s Strength & Conditioning Coach) is recommended as a supplement to general rugby training.