Warriors’ Defence Coach Omar Mouneimne has returned from a week-long coaching exchange in the United States where he helped the USA Eagles prepare for the forthcoming Rugby World Cup and spent time at the Olympic Training Centre in Colorado Springs and with the Houston Texans NFL team.
The trip saw Mouneimne link up again with former Warriors Director of Rugby Gary Gold, who now works for the Eagles in a similar role, to exchange ideas with coaches in boxing, wrestling and American Football.
“The Eagles had been asking me to come out to help improve their defence and share some tactics on defence and their kicking game,” Mouneimne said.
“Meanwhile they suggested I visit the Olympic Training Centre and one of the connections at USA Rugby said they could also put me in touch with an NFL team.
“It was an enjoyable and informative week and I got a lot out of it. It was very insightful particularly around things like the mind-set and commitment of Olympic sportsmen, which is something that you wouldn’t normally pick up unless you are working at that level.
“It gives you a new perspective on something. I might say something that had never occurred to them and vice versa with me, so it has been mutually beneficial.”
Mouneimne worked with the Eagles during three double training sessions in which he sharpened up their defence and helped them plan for their forthcoming matches in the Pacific Nations Cup and the World Cup.
“I analysed their defence and the teams that they are going to be playing, suggested some quick fixes for their defence going forward and some key objectives for the World Cup,” Mouneimne said.
“It was really good to see Gary again. He’s going well and he’s doing a great job. They’ve had some good historical results and they’ve got some good talent in their squad.”
Mouneimne then spent a day with the USA boxing and wrestling squads before ending his week with the Texans.
“What stood out for me was the mind-set of the Olympic athletes. They know what they want and they know how to get it,” he said.
“Olympic athletes as individuals take such personal ownership for their own performances. They walk in every day for training and they know they need to maximise their training if they are to become an Olympic gold medallist.
“Rugby, and even NFL to a degree, can learn from Olympic athletes because only that selfless dedication will result in a medal.
“They will push themselves because they know that a medal doesn’t just grow around your neck. They don’t have a couple of average days a week in training. That is what I really admired and learnt over there.
“In top rugby teams the major personalities, the senior players, always have the same mentality as Olympic athletes. They know what it takes, they realise the repercussions of a sloppy training session, they realise the repercussions of not setting goals, they realise the repercussions of not recovering well and not planning or studying the opposition.
“The best players in a team sport will focus on the same principles as an Olympic athlete. I think any team in any division can say: if each person takes responsibility for his role, his job, his designation to the level that an Olympic athlete does then the collective will be better off. But it starts with the individual.”