School teachers should be collectively engaged in the Oceania Sports and Education Programme Courses so that the development of athletes from a young age at primary school to secondary school level is aligned said school teacher and Nadi based rugby coach Inoke Vucago during a weeklong OSEP Community Strength and Conditioning Course held in the Western Division from the 6th to the 10th of April, 2021
"There are grey areas between the movement of players from primary and secondary school since there are no connections between primary school and secondary school coaches on the development and performance of players," he said.
"The primary school and secondary school teachers involvement will build bridges and will be enablers for an effective Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) structure for players through primary and secondary schools, producing world class players between ages 19-23years."
Inoke said he was interested in taking up the course to know more about its effectiveness and its impact to his sport of choice which is rugby.
"Being a part of the course enabled me to gain as much knowledge as I can on planning, preparation and training of a player, so that he or she may enhance themselves to achieve maximum potential at their competition," he said.
Inoke was hopeful that the course would also holistically benefit Nadi Rugby Union because it would help the coaches identify talent and develop players to achieve their full potential.
With the development of these players, we would like to see them reach and perform at elite levels. “The high performance of these players will enhance team performance generating a trickling effect to club, provincial and national performance," he said.
Inoke said he had attended a similar course in a Level 1 Strength and Conditioning for rugby.
"This OSEP Community Strength and Conditioning course was a much bigger difference from what was covered in rugby Level 1 because it was more detailed into talent identification and development”.
"It also focused on the planning, preparation, executing and evaluation of specific training programs for individual players, mini units and as a team for maximum performance," he said.
Inoke said he hoped to be setting a more detailed and effective training programs for his individual players and to monitor their programs and progress.
OSEP Master Educator trainee, Kolinio Sewabu said part of his role during the week long course was to assess the Educator trainees present to ensure they deliver to the standard expected of them through their content knowledge, delivery methods and achieving course outcomes, so participants maximise their learnings and improve their knowledge on the importance of understanding training principles and how this relates to training athletes in their National Federations.
Kolinio said body strength and conditioning improved endurance, increased flexibility and establishes a balanced, stable physique.
"The valuable knowledge and exercises learnt from this course offers a wealth of positive benefits to overall health and fitness of athletes across all sports and allows athletes to prepare themselves to the demands of the game orsport they’re involved in. "So this course is absolutely necessary for any coach to go through."
Kolinio said more courses and focus were needed across Fiji, especially in the western and northern divisions.
"I will encourage getting all National Federations to have their coaches certified so that they teach the correct techniques from a younger age, acknowledging age-grade training and long term athlete development (LTAD).
"Fiji will be a far better performing country in sports in years to come if this is enhanced and supported at grassroots level," he said.
The week long course was facilitated by FASANOC, through the International Olympic Committee Olympic Solidarity funding program and included 19 participants from ten national federations.