It's that time again, rugby fans. St. Louis ruggers are lacing up their boots and braving the cold weather to get back on the field for practices before the spring season gets underway. If you haven't seen our schedule yet, our first match is in one month all the way in New Orleans. If you're as eager as we are, you probably have some questions about our season. We sat down with our head coach to give you a preview.
Timmy Wiethop took over the position of Head Coach officially this season but has been under the guidance of our previous coach, Eddie Neuenschwander, since last fall. The team invested in Wiethop's coaching education by providing compensation for various coaching clinics. He is certified by USA Rugby as a Level 100 Officiator and a Level 200 Coach. "This is my first year coaching, but my fifth year in the world of club rugby," said Wiethop. "I'm willing to do anything I can to continue our progression forwards."
FROM THE TECHNICAL ZONE
by Timmy Wiethop
It'll all start out in NOLA. The Crescent City Rougaroux match is going to be an excellent test for us. They are pretty much a wild card since we don't know much about them other than they are athletic and there to win. I'm excited for that trip (and not just for the jambalaya, either). Two of our friendly rivalries are also in this spring season — a match against the SMRF Mercenaries and a tournament with the Madison Minotaurs. The Mercenaries are always hard-hitting. They recently joined Division III of USA Rugby meaning we need to anticipate any new skills they picked up. Similarly, a match-up against the Minotaurs continually gives our fans a good show. We've never been disappointed in how both teams make each other work for every inch of yardage so their tournament will undoubtedly be a fun time. There are a lot of tests, but I think we are up for the challenge.
Fans can expect a more significant amount of focus from the team. You'll see more cohesion between the backs and the forwards to create a unified strategy. I have a few plays in my hat that I'll be interested to see out on the pitch. To do this, I'm looking to increase player's speed and their comprehensive knowledge of the game. I use metrics to measure where a player starts out at the beginning of each season so that I can accurately evaluate improvement. This will, hopefully, feed into and grow their love of the game pushing a desire for self-improvement.
I've also decided to re-organize the coaching structure with defined roles for assistant coaches. My style of coaching is a "no-nonsense" philosophy of leadership. I want discipline and hard work. I want my players to give their all to their teammates and understand the level of camaraderie and effort required to improve. People should see that we are leaving our hearts out on the pitch at the end of a match. Even if we don't win, we should be having fun. It's a club sport, after all.
— Timmy Wiethop
As you can tell from Timmy's words, this season is all about prepping our boys for an elevated level of play. His strategies should help form a stable base for which newer players can rely on as we continue to grow in numbers. In turn, it will help our players who attend larger tournaments, like the Bingham Cup in June, play against teams with more experience. "I'm extremely enthusiastic about what Timmy can do for this team," said Robert Fischer, team president. "We've known him for a long time, and our players have encouraged him as he's taken over this position. Do I think we are going to win? Hell yea."