Paul Tyler has been been busy since being appointed Director of Youth Rugby at GHA earlier this summer and took some time out to give us his thoughts on his new position.

He has established the new GHA Rugby Academy which has been set up to help give talented young players the chance to hone their skills and fulfil their career ambitions in rugby. The Academy will help close the gap between the junior and senior sections of the club and has taken in 20 of the most talented young players in the club from the age of 15 up to 21. In the long term it is hoped that the Academy will help produce a steady supply of talented home-grown young players who will be ready to play first XV rugby and beyond.

GHA rugby club have in the past helped develop a number of young players who have gone on to professional rugby careers, something which it is hoped that the new Academy will help more players to achieve.

Paul Tyler is a former SRU Development Officer with first XV coaching experience at a number of Glasgow clubs, including GHA. He has also coached the Glasgow Thistles development squads and is a joint Editor at Dan Cottrell’s Better Rugby Coaching.

Paul is excited by the creation of the new GHA Rugby Academy.

He said: “For me the GHA Rugby Academy is the most exciting rugby project I have ever been involved in. The opportunity to work with the most talented young players in the club and help them to achieve their rugby ambitions gives me a real buzz.”

For the players the new Academy will give them the opportunity to experience what it is like to be a professional athlete and they will learn about the importance of nutrition, hydration, rest and their whole lifestyle geared towards achieving their goals as rugby players.

Paul said: “The idea is to develop players using individual programmes and develop their strength and conditioning, speed and agility, fitness and most importantly their rugby skills.

“To do that we will use myself and my expertise, our strength and conditioning coach Rob Marshall and we will be using various specialist coaches.

“The likes of  former GHA players Jon Welsh and James Eddie from Glasgow Warriors, the likes of Colin Ireland who has coached at the highest level and other specialist coaches in the club like Iain MacGregor who is going to do work with the front row players.

“I am hoping the Academy will close the gap between the junior section and senior section and these players will be in a far better position to come into the first XV than young players have been in the past.”

The Academy is being sponsored by Provan Sports who will be supplying kit to the Academy players.

Paul said: “We are incredibly grateful to PSL for their support. Branding is incredibly important for this kind of initiative and the quality kit that PSL are going to supply to our players will help us to establish a professional look and ethos for all of those involved.”

Paul is also developing a new curriculum of rugby at GHA which will set out what players at certain age groups should be able to do. Coaching materials will be made available to each age group coaching team as well as regular coaching clinics where the latest coaching ideas will be discussed.

The mixture of the curriculum and the coaching materials will help up the skill level of junior coaches and in turn help develop better players at all age groups.

Paul said: “As well as the Academy, part of my role is to provide support to all the junior coaches involved in the club. We have a very strong group of coaches at the club, including a lot of ex-players, and I will be looking to assist them in any way that I can.

“The curriculum of rugby is something that we have been talking about for a while. It basically gives a framework for junior coaches to work from.

“I’ll be running a series of coaching updates focusing on the core skills of the game and providing practical coaching information at all levels as we continue to build one of the strongest junior sections in Scotland.”

In recent seasons, GHA have seen a number of promising young players coming through their ranks with the likes of Adam Barnett, James Malcolm and Rory Hughes going on to play for Scotland U18s and David Scott who crossed codes to join Rugby League outfit Hull KR and has subsequently won full International honours for Scotland’s Rugby League team.

Paul believes that GHA is a great place to be for ambitious young rugby players if they want to develop and improve.
He said: “There are some excellent players coming through the junior section.

“James Malcolm has obviously been at Hutcheson’s Grammar School as well which the club continues to have strong links with. I am particularly excited about James’s progress having played for Scotland U18s last season.

“I think he is a player who certainly has the ability and more importantly the mental strength and the mental attitude to make the step up to professional rugby.

“He is very determined, he’s got a very good work ethic and I am looking forward to doing some work with him this year in the Academy.”

Last season’s GHA young player of the year, John Brogan, is someone who has already played a full season at first XV level despite being only 18 and has caught the eye with some great performances.

Paul said: “John is a player who has great raw potential. He has suffered a bit from injury in the past and as such has missed out on age group selections but there is no doubt that he has the potential to go a long way. I am excited to be working with him in the Academy this year and helping him to develop his game further.”

Everyone at the club is focused on the upcoming season and the opening game against Dalziel on the 25th August. The creation of the new GHA Rugby Academy will help develop and produce exciting, talented young rugby players who will help excite the fans and provide the foundation of GHA’s future.

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