Hello, I’m Bryan Kirkland, USQRA auto fame member for the sport of wheelchair rugby. In my 20 plus years of playing rugby I’ve seen many facets to playing successful rugby. The one element that stands out in regards to having a successful team is to develop, and know the fundamental skills of wheelchair rugby. It is imperative that each athlete know their roll on the team and learn the fundamental skills of their position and roll on the team. This will help, with not only with player development, but also, it will contribute to the overall success of their team. Here are a few skills that must be developed and mastered. For mid to high class players the skills that must be developed and maintained deal with rugby ball. These skills range from passing, catching, dribbling, ball pick ups, and advancing the ball. These are the skills that all rugby athletes must have. However, if you are a class 2.0 2.5, 3, or 3.5, it is imperative that these classes know and develop these skills Passing and catching of the ball is probably the 2 most important skills to develop. They both actually go hand in hand. Turnovers determine the result of a rugby competition. A team that gets the most turnovers and and scores directly from that turnover will win the game. A pass that is strong will either be caught and dropped, if not using the proper technique of passing and catching a ball. At some point in a game a player will have an opportunity to catch a pass or intercept a ball, so passing and catching of a rugby ball are a must for player development. Since many players have paralysis or impairments in their fingers and hands the skill of catching a ball can be based on if you can create a target area with your hands and arms to trap or catch the ball. It is important to watch the ball or keep your eyes on the ball all the way into your target area. Hand eye coordination must be constantly worked on through hours or routine and drills. Here are some drills that help develop your hand eye coordination: Long Passing Drill Extra Long Passing Drill Stop and Pop A rugby chair set up is so important. So being strapped in properly, having the legs fastened to the chair so that there’s no dead weight moving as you’re playing so that, you know, when you turn your body moves with the chair. When you hit, the energy, all the hit and energy goes into your hit and nothing’s moving so that alone is probably the most important thing about getting started and setting up for rugby. The straps and taping of the hands is very crucial. I’ve learned over the years, uh, I’ve perfected my tape job to where I know exactly where the tape’s going to bust through if it does so that, uh, I know where to reinforce it at. I use a product called gum rubber that I tape onto my hands. I actually use it as a cuff, and have it velcro’d around my glove and then I just tape it to my glove so that I don’t have a break through into the glove and into my skin so it makes a very huge difference in having that because it makes a great contact between my hand and the push rim. So, it’s very important that you have the proper tape and the straps, it’s very important to having your body strapped into your chair so that nothing’s moving and if you, a player does go over You don’t come out of the chair, you stay with it and when you’re uprighted, you’re basically ready to go Something I’ve learned the hard way was to start protecting my arms because we do grab the wheels with our elbows and our forearms and of course, we know that when a wheel’s turning fast and you grab it suddenly it, the tires can burn your arms and it can cause an an open area for something as bad as MRSA, A Staph infection to set in that the dirt getting into your arms, so what I started doing is wearing what they call bike warming, warming sleeves because they’re thick enough to where they won’t break and bust open, that you can get a lot of use out of them, so that will help protect your arms with a little bit of light taping around the bicep to where it’s not too tight to where it won’t cut off the blood flow to your arms, make your arms feel heavy, So, its something you have to kind of tinker with to find what works best for you and that alone can definitely protect you from hopefully not getting any kind of sores or infection.