Article by Liz Sunga
From overflowing bleachers to numerous girls every year trying out for the sport, their goals ranging for a spot in the varsity team or just learning a new game to play with friends,Touch Rugby is arguably one of the school’s most popular sports. Every year, touch typically sees some of the biggest try out groups and is highly competitive, despite being a very simple sport to learn. This year, ISM welcomes three new touch coaches to its ever growing athletics family.
Coach Kara C. and Coach Colin A. are working this year with the junior varsity touch team. It’s their first year coaching touch. Coach Kara says that her interest for touch stemmed from watching a lot of full-contact rugby, although she wasn’t keen to play it. “Touch, on the other hand, was something that I could see myself playing. It was less contact and fast-paced” she said. Similarly, Coach Colin’s interest for touch was also inspired by his love for rugby which he used in Beijing to coach girls’ rugby as “many of the same skills are used for touch as well.” Both share the challenge of learning the game just as the players do but Coach Kara thinks that it’s worth it because at the end of the day, “the girls have fun, communicate and work together”.
This year is Coach Ellmers’ first season coaching our varsity team with Coach MJ at ISM but is only one of his many years of coaching and playing touch. From his years of experience, he has learnt that patience is key as “understanding the structure of the game takes time and repetition, and players understand it at different times”. The most challenging thing about being a coach is teaching players to take everything they learn into the game setting when some skills are prioritized over others during practice. However, for him, the biggest reward of being a touch coach is “to see players run openly, confidently and make attacking plays creatively” as ISM’s touch team are filed with players “who want to perform at the highest level” and “push themselves to progress with each other”.
Overall, the three new touch coaches can all agree that ISM’s touch team is simultaneously one of the most rigorous and dedicated teams in the country and that it provides opportunities for both coaches and athletes to learn more about the sport they love and the teammates they work with.