O'Shea goes on fact-finding mission to NFL
July 14, 2014
Conor O'Shea is taking inspiration from the NFL © PA Photos
Harlequins boss Conor O'Shea has turned to NFL for inspiration as he looks for new, innovative methods of coaching that can help his team in their charge for silverware in the forthcoming season.
O'Shea's Quins reached the Aviva Premiership play-offs last term but lost out to Saracens. To help their fortunes this term, O'Shea's coaching staff went on a global fact-finding mission in the close-season.
"Our biggest challenge is to make sure we're as fit and fresh as possible as a group - and that includes the coaches," O'Shea told The Rugby Paper. "All the coaches this summer have been to different places to pick up new things. Tony Diprose went to Australia, John Kingston went to South Africa and myself, Mark Mapletoft and Collin Osborne went to America.
"That keeps us fresh and it's no different with players. You're going to have people unhappy over selection because you can only pick 15, but everybody will play their part next season."
Rugby and NFL have worked closely in the past. Saracens have trained with the Miami Dolphins while the annual NFL game at Wembley usually sees the travelling American sides working alongside a Premiership rugby team. For O'Shea, he has kept close tabs on what they are doing in the USA and used his summer to see what he could learn from the NFL training methods.
"We spent a bit of time with NFL side Philadelphia Eagles," O'Shea said. "Collin Osborne has been doing some work with GlaxoSmithKline on cognitive learning tools, which enable off-feet training and will, hopefully, be a first in rugby.
"The Eagles have been using it too so we went over to have a look. They play a really high-tempo offence so we looked at how they do their coaching. Two totally different sports but you can always take things from them."
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