Over the Easter period, GRLA Strength & Conditioning coach, Juan Jasso, visited the Mexican Rugby League to conduct a number of coaching clinics. He spent two weeks on this trip and, in & amongst eating vast quantities of Mexican food, he saw significant development in the local rugby league players whilst proudly wearing his GRLA colours. Juan is hoping that he will be able to visit other South & Central American countries in the future to conduct similar clinics, and he is also in line to coach the Latin Heat USA RL team for the second time in the upcoming Philadelphia 9s! Hopefully Juan’s progress on the American continents will entice future players to join the GRLA programme – watch this space! In the meanwhile, courtesy of Juan Jasso’s blog page (juanjassoblog.wordpress.com), have a read about his Mexican rugby league coaching exploits!
The main aims and objectives of these RL development trips is to promote, assist, and raise the level of play with in the host nation by providing coaching, education, and guidance in all areas of RL. The coaching sessions will usually entail just the basic skills needed to play the game as most Latin American Nations are very new to the game. By providing the basic skills it should ensure that at the very least, these nations are aware and can begin to work on competency.
The education for these trips can vary from coaching pedagogy, Strength and Conditioning, Nutrition, and general sports education. Especially with Mexico, the general sub-culture towards sport lacks the acceptance of Sports science evidence and research that would help with development of the game. Finally, with regards to the general guidance, it is assisting with long term plans, marketing, setting up of Constitutions and so forth. All these areas are looked at to ensure that Rugby League will be sustainable and soon, established in the host nation.
For these things to happen, I had to know more about the host nation and its issues that could potentially slow or stop the growth or rugby league, from political to general sports subculture in the host nation. As this is my first such trip to develop RL, it has been a great revelation. I have learned many things about the political and other issues facing the development of RL in Mexico but also how difficult, probably the most difficult place to establish a new sport. However, that being said, Mexico RL was established by two brothers Carlos and Ruben Munguia, who are extremely passionate about its establishment and success. Which is probably the only reason after 4 years of me speaking with them and them continuing to carry the touch and spread Rugby League that it exists in Mexico.
My time with Mexico RL and the brothers was a great experience, one for me to be able to finally get to meet them and help assist them with their passion. Secondly because my family is from Mexico and I learned so much about my own culture. While there, much progress was made to ensure that RL would sustain in the host nation. Much progress was made, from progression in the training sessions, to ensuring that RL is spread. The basics were shown to them and once they grasped that, and everything clicked. Those training looked like a seasoned group that could have come from England, Australia or any established RL nation. Even Ruben and Carlos observed and commented on this. To see such progress in 5 session was truly remarkable. Those who were present are now able to help show others and spread RL.
There were many advancements in the background in terms of administration and building a strong foundation to ensure the success of RL in Mexico. They had their first sponsor and partnership with a national organization that sees the potentials of RL in Mexico. They have also secured a permanent training ground. Not to mention individuals who have pledged to help Ruben and Carlos succeed.
From here Mexico RL will continue to move forward. We have set up agreed goals for myself and them to work on to secure and build on that foundation which was made there in Mexico. While the future of Mexico RL looks extremely promising as with any organization they need to ensure that they do not become over confident and attempt to grow too quickly, which I strongly believe will not happen. There is still so much work to be done and in time once the roots of this trip have taken a solid foothold, RL in Mexico will flourish. By 2025, I strongly believe that Mexico RL could be a strong established RL nation and I look forward to seeing that happen.
I now will look towards the next country planned for a RL development trip again with the assistance of the NRL/RLIF. As I hopefully go on more trips, I will learn for everyone and help establish the sport I love in many more nations. While there is a mountain of work to do in these trips, before, during and after, and while I do not personally gain from these trips I will continue to assist any country that is looking to spread and establish RL.
While there will be follow up trips in time to any and all countries I visit, It was an honor and pleasure to have had Mexico RL as my first Development trip.
Gracias mi nuevos hermanos y familia en Mexico.