Long term rugby development strategy in Azerbaijan

Prepared by:
Aleksey Borovskih
Azerbaijan Rugby Development Manager

The objective of the rugby development strategy is to align the sport of rugby in Azerbaijan to produce more skilful players, and expand the game supported tamir rugbyby quality coaches, officials and volunteers at all levels of the game in Azerbaijan. It is directed at achieving optimal training, performance, competition, and recovery throughout the career of a player.
Rugby is one of the fastest growing team sports in Azerbaijan. Known as the "sport for all", rugby attracts participants of all sizes, shapes, and abilities. Coaches, Officials, Administrators and Parents must all be responsible for ensuring that the rugby environment is EQUAL, FUN and SAFE for its participants.
The three stage strategy represents a critical piece of the puzzle and requires the commitment of coaches, administrators, volunteers, officials, leaders, and players in the game to put the plan into action for the future. The strategy primary aim is to insure robust partnership inside the Azerbaijan Rugby Union, Clubs and Players with support provided by Government Officials, Ministry of Sport and National Olympic Committee. We encourage all ages and abilities stakeholders to adopt proactive approach and take active role in the game development in Azerbaijan.
Short Term Development Strategy (2008-2010)
As a basis for the development of rugby in Azerbaijan it is advised to encourage and support youth development progress. Azerbaijan Rugby Federation has established and supporting four junior clubs. The clubs are mainly consisting of three age categories U10, U14 and U16. The short term strategy envisages increasing the number of the junior clubs to six. One of the main obstacles in implementing this is the lack of the financial support directed to youth development. To overcome the issue it is advised to reorganize sponsorship committee work and structure in order to provide proper financial support to the increased number of the junior clubs. The junior clubs require such essential material support like provision of outfit, balls, protective equipment and financial support in terms of coach salary budget.
tamir rugbyAnother very important side of the short term strategy is organization of games among the junior clubs for each age category in order to keep track of their progress. It is advised to organize minimum one game per month for each age category with the following detailed game evaluation meeting to improve junior skills and competitiveness. This is a stage where kids will get basic skills that are specific for rugby.
To ensure successful short term strategy implementation it is advised to negotiate and reserve training hours at several pitches in Baku. Currently three clubs out four have their own artificial pitches which are used for weekly training purposes, however these pitches are small and do not meet established standards for the game.
Our primary aim is to ensure safe Rugby philosophy for all age participants. It is advised to provide coaches, referees and club administrators with the required knowledge, skills and leadership abilities to ensure that safety principles and best practice principles are incorporated into all aspects of contact Rugby.
Mid Term Development Strategy (2008-2012)
It is advised to increased level of domestic and international competitions for Azerbaijani players. Currently Azerbaijan is part of FIRA and is regularly invited to play 3 or 4 European Circuit games during the season. However it is not enough to promote the players skills development and increase national team competitiveness. Our aim is to request and be included in other neighbor region competitions taking place in Russia, Turkey, Iran and Georgia. It is advised to increase number of seniors clubs in Azerbaijan to ten in order to organize proper annual championship and meet IRB standards for acceptance into the organization. To meet the standards it is planned to have established and officially registered: 5 Senior Clubs in Baku, 2 Senior Clubs in Sumgait, 1 Senior Club in Jalilabad and 2 Senior Clubs in Gandja.
tamir rugbyAt the mid term development strategy stage we will focus on players excellence with more emphasis on building, optimizing and maximizing rugby-specific skills in a competitive, well-structured environment. Increased number of competitions and improved training sessions quality will encourages life-long physical activity and involvement in rugby. Players can enter this stage at any time.
Long Term Development Strategy (2008-2015)
Long term development strategy envisages acceptance of Azerbaijan Rugby Federation into IRB and promotion of the national team on to the new international level. FIRA is considered as a main supporting organization in the long term development scheme. It is aimed to have the rugby game in the group of three the most popular team games in Azerbaijan. The total number of active senior rugby players shall be increased to 8,000 and number of the high level domestic completions shall be increased to ten. It is advised to establish in Azerbaijan the annual high profile open tournament called “Caucasus Rugby Cup”. Due to the favorable climate conditions this tournament shall be held in February. Participating into the cup all neighbor countries will take advantage in their preparations to the new upcoming rugby season.

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