MICRC U14 Staff


Head Coach
Mike Patterson

World Rugby (IRB) Level 2
NCCP #962496

Assistant Coach

Sasha Gajic

World Rugby (IRB) Level 1

Assistant Coach

Ian Graham


Manager TBD
Itinerant Associate Player Coach(Practice and Development – Multiple MICRC Teams)

Oli Schimpl

Coaching Philosophy

My coaching philosophy is to develop the players’ individual and team rugby skills. My emphasis is on the development of the player, not on the result of the match. To be clear, I am not saying that winning is not important. Rather, striving to win is important, but development of players is more so.  My focus is to teach life skills through team play, commitment, respect, responsibility, determination and hard work. And most importantly to have fun and enjoy the game of rugby.  ALL OUT. ALL GAME. ALL SEASON

I believe that a coach can identify and correct mistakes in practice by embracing a double positive approach to reinforcement of performance.  I will work at looking for and positively reinforcing what is right, good and correct and employ this strategy to correct those mistakes that will ultimately occur.  Also, I plan on encouraging their powers of observation and critical analysis by involving them in the technical diagnosis of mistakes, errors and correct performance during games and practices.  This will help develop their own knowledge of the game and foster an environment of communication that will give them reason and context to why we are doing various skill work or practicing certain tactics etc.

Team Makeup

Some things to consider in the make-up of our team(s):

Some and perhaps many of our players will be new to playing rugby, with the remaining players having had played only a year or two. In some cases the players may be receiving their first exposure to the coaching, positioning, skills development and expectations that come with being a club rugby player.  Players will be put into game situations in such a way that will enhance their knowledge of the game and build their confidence in their ability to play.  Enjoyment of playing the game is my primary goal for each and every player.

Depending on the number of players that register, there may be an opportunity to run two teams. In rugby we call them the 1st XV and the 2nd XV.  Unlike hockey and other sports, in rugby the members of the teams practice together and strive through game and practice efforts to be selected to the 1st XV.  This does not mean that the 1st XV will be comprised of the most talented 15 players, the fastest 15 players or the biggest 15 players.  The coaches together will select the 1st XV on a weekly basis dependent on the players’:

  • Effort and commitment demonstrated in previous game and training sessions;
  • Attendance to game and training;
  • Level of development of knowledge of their position and the strategies/tactics coached;
  • Level of skill and improvement the player has attained;
  • Level of fitness that the player has reached.

U14 Program Details

Practices, Games and the Dressing Room

  • Players will have 2 practices a week each of which will be 2-2.5 hours in length; Mondays and Thursdays.
  • Games are played weekly on Saturday mornings.
  • Players are expected to arrive 1 hour prior to games and arrive 15 minutes prior to practices if at all possible.
  • Late or missing team events – Email and/or phone call to the team manager at least 24 hours prior if possible.  If no notice is given, the player will be dealt with in a prompt and fair fashion as determined by the coaching staff.  Discipline will escalate based upon the frequency of the missed practices/games.
  • Players and guests are expected to treat MICRC’s clubhouse and facilities as well as any opposition clubhouses and facilities with the same respect as if they owned them themselves.
  • Coaching aids such as TeamSnap and Teamer.net are currently being evaluated; this will assist in practice plans and drills to be distributed in advance of the practice to the players and parents.  If one is used, it will be necessary for everyone to join in the use to ensure their effectiveness.

If a player is injured and depending on the circumstance/severity they should make every attempt to attend the practices/games and support their team and keep up on the strategy/tactics development so when they are healthy they are not behind in understanding.

Player Positioning

Player positioning is not determined by a single individual.  It is based on input from the assessment of the players by the MICRC staff and overall consensus being reached.  This is for the betterment of the team and the player.  Player desire will be considered as will physical and tactical development but player safety will always be the prime consideration.

The basis of this assessment includes;

  • Player desire
  • Player physical size
  • Player fitness, speed, strength, agility and drive
  • Player tendencies (game sense early, rugby sense later),
  • Players ability to identify and react (Offensive positional traits with/without ball, defensive positional traits without the ball),
  • Player actions when moved to different positions,
  • Team makeup and ability to compete with.

As a result, some players may be moved back and forth between the positions based on their dexterity, technical/individual skill development and ability to transition with limited impact to the team.

This should only be viewed as a reflection of the players’ development and the confidence the coaching staff has in the player’s ability.

The coaching staff will try to accommodate positional preferences throughout the year; however, ultimately, the best interest of the overall team always taking precedence. With this in mind the final decision will always be made by the coaching staff.

Player Field Time Allocation (Game Situation)

Coaches will do their best to provide equitable field time to all players in game situations.  However, due to the specific requirements of certain positions such as the Forwards and specifically the front row of the scrum it may not be feasible to substitute for all players, having to put safety ahead of all else.  Coaches will utilize the players at their discretion with the attempt to remain competitive and ensure all players identified for a specific game see reasonable game time.

Additionally, players may see reduced field time as a result of discipline situations resulting from game play or other issues such as practice attendance.  These situations and issues will always be addressed with the player prior to, during the game or immediately following the game.

If parents have concerns regarding positioning, field time or discipline situations we would ask that they take a 24 hour cooling off period before addressing with the coach.  All concerns should be addressed to the Team Manager who will organize a conversation with the coaching staff immediately following the next practice.

Practices vs. Games

  1. 1 efficient practice will give a player more skill development than multiple games collectively.
  2. Each player will have a ball in their hands far more in a practice than in a game.
  3. Players are on the field for four hours of practice weekly.  Whereas in a game (with substitutions) they may have an average of 40 mins on the field.

What I am trying to get across here is that practices are just as important if not more important than games.  Practices are where the players get a chance to develop their skills. I will be strongly reinforcing play with/without the ball and positioning.

Key Elements to a Successful Season

Players, Coaches, Officials and Parents

If one of these elements breaks down, the game will no longer be fun. Each of these groups must RESPECT each other to have a successful program.

Success will be determined based not on the standings at the end of the season but on the overall enjoyment that each player experienced playing U14 rugby for the Markham Irish Canadian Rugby Club.  Our goal is that each and every player will be looking forward to the following season immediately following the last minute of play this season AND want to bring friends with them.

Conduct, Behaviour and Dress Code – Expectations

Respect of Team-mates, Coaching Staff, Officials and Parents

  1. Unlike hockey we do not have a Code of Conduct for Parents as it has not been needed. Rugby is different.  Please help the sport remain different and maintain the respect that is inherent in this great game.
  2. All team members are expected to respect their team-mates, Coaches, Parents and Officials.
  3. The Coaching staff will not use profanity at any time and it will not be tolerated if used by any team member when directed at officials, the other team, spectators or teammates. Rugby is a passionate game and sometimes a word is needed to express a personal frustration or joy that is not normally easily expressible. Coaches will use discretion with the players in these circumstances.
  4. Players are expected to behave at all times in the dressing room, on the sidelines and in the facilities before, during and after all games and practices.
  5. Discipline for unacceptable behaviour will be dealt with in a prompt and fair fashion as determined by the coaching staff. Discipline will escalate based upon the severity and frequency of the altercation. If escalation is needed, parents will be informed.
  6. Practice expectations – player focus, discipline, attention and hard work. If the these expectations are not met and the player becomes a disruption to teammates or coach teachings, the player will be warned twice and upon a third time will be asked to leave the field.
  7. If a player is asked to remove themselves from the field during a practice for discipline reasons, there will be game time consequences ranging from not starting the game to game suspension. If the latter is determined as a necessary discipline, the parents will be informed in advance.
  8. Parents are expected to lead by example and act in a positive manner while at MICRC or opposition facilities. This includes letting the Coaches coach, cheering of a team as a whole and no berating of players on performance, Coaches or Officials at any time.
  9. Coaches are unable to control what happens in the stands during a game. Please be aware, if you as a parent become unruly or cast disparaging comments at players, officials, or coaches, a meeting will be arranged to discuss your actions.
  10. Any parent wishing to voice a complaint to a member of the team staff is asked to respect the “24 Hour” rule prior to voicing their concern and then contact the Team Manager to arrange a meeting with the coaches at the next available practice.
  11. Player dress code games and practices – Unlike hockey and because our sport is played outside during the heat of the season, there is no mandatory dress code. However, MICRC would like to see our players wearing their MICRC T-shirt when attending a game.  If you so choose to purchase other MICRC gear through the website, these will also be acceptable.

For practice – a proper rugby jersey or T-shirt that will not rip easily is recommended as well as proper rugby shorts (please try to stay away from basketball shorts as they tend to be far too long) and proper rugby cleats.  Soccer cleats with sharp or dangerous blades or blades on the toe will not be allowed for safety reasons. If you have questions about proper boots for your desired position i.e. High Studs for a participation in a scrum, please contact me directly and I will try and help you out with boot selection. Mouth guards are necessary for all practices and games – no exceptions will be made to this rule.

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