• American Made Rugby

    by  • January 16, 2012 • Guest Post • 4 Comments

    The AMNRL is poised to expand across the USA.  First time spectators will immediately recognize some very familiar activities; lots of running, ball-handling and tackling. Most American males have played sports involving these activities since a young age and are generally very comfortable with them.

    This leads to a sensitive question; why do American players, or predominantly American teams, often struggle to compete with foreign players and teams?  As mentioned above, Americans are raised practicing the fundamentals of rugby league so it’s unlikely to be a lack of general skills. It’s certainly not a difference in our collective demeanor or athletic ability, as a quick glance down either sideline during an AMNRL match can confirm.

    Two possible culprits that remain are fitness and game-sense.   It’s my opinion these are the primary factors that limit our success in rugby league, and without a doubt fitness is the larger area of concern.

    The strength and endurance required for top-level footy is incredible.  Once fatigue sets in then the proper execution of those familiar fundamentals becomes less likely.  Fatigue also cruelly impacts decision-making ability, so even well coached players struggle to think clearly or quickly.

    Tell me what you think.  Am I correct that fitness is the greatest obstacle to America emerging as a top-level rugby league contender?


    Name: Joe Grohovsky Education: Youngstown State University '78 Major: Business Administration Current Status: Former Coach/Art of Coarse Rugby Enthusiast The Pelican became smitten with rugby as a university student and has come to embrace all codes of footy. This love of the sport, along with an aggressive shirking of all adult responsibility, has enabled the Pelican to play for clubs throughout the USA, South Africa and Australia. A lengthy tenure as a player, referee, coach and administrator has developed strong opinions that he will eagerly share with anyone trapped within earshot. This oratory is delivered under the motto “Ego saepe sed nunquam male dubitavit”.


    4 Responses to American Made Rugby

    1. RLFan
      January 17, 2012 at 4:24 pm

      I definitely agree. While Americans are typically good at different ball sports and coordination, many of their games are based on substitutions and multiple stopping points of the game. (i.e. Basketball, Football, etc ..) The same argument can be said for Soccer (futbol) where Americans tend to struggle on the international level.

      Rugby League, in the AMNRL in particular, I have personally witnessed explosive plays from various players who were rendered useless immediately after because they were gassed. I have also seen fit players who knew very little of the game continue to carry the workload for their team. Hopefully all this ‘Shark Fit’ training we are seeing on this website will pay off as the boys ramp up for the upcoming campaign.

    2. January 19, 2012 at 2:45 am

      I don’t want to overuse the word but another issue that seems to plague American athletes is the ‘wussification’ of the youth today. It makes me sound like an old man (I still like my music loud) but I have observed a “changing of the guard” with respect to newer players coming up through the ranks. It is not a rugby or ‘futbol’ specific issue per se because there are plenty of examples everywhere in American sports. For example, the US Basketball team went from being a dominant force to not even advancing out of ‘pool play’ in international competition. They have since turned it around, but the general malaise definitely set the program back in many ways; as evidenced in almost losing an entire NBA season. It has been a phenomenon in Boxing and other MMA type sports where the ‘hungrier’ countries that have to work harder tend to dominate their respective sports. Either way, it does seem to start with fitness and fundamentals. If you have the work ethic to get fit, there is a good chance you have the commitment required to tough it out and play at a physical level. Sometimes it just comes down to who wants it more, and you have to be willing to put your head in and make a go of it. In other words, not be a wuss.

    3. Bazwaa
      January 22, 2012 at 1:40 am

      Some good points all round. I agree that fitness and game sense are priorities for any developing RL area although even RL playing nations struggle with the fitness. Many UK teams have gone down to Aussie sides as they have dropped off in the last 20 minutes or so of the game. Playing 80 minutes and finishing as strong as you start is vital.

      The game sense is a hard one and until the USA has juniors it will be a tough thing to change. In Australia you can start in the Under 7’s competition ao from the age of 6 you are already developing a sense of the game and skills. By 21 you have 15 yrs under your belt. This is a huge advantage. Saying that, I’ve played with and against USA born guys with bucket loads of skill and game sense.

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