The Nashua Rugby Skills Project (NRSP) launched in January 2017 aimed to improve the skills of young South African rugby players. A year and half later, the NRSP has achieved tremendous success in developing rugby techniques and sharing critical life skills with learners in provinces across the country. The programme reached over 2346 players in total after two rounds in 32 locations, improving ball skills by over 50%.
Nashua Limited (Pty) South Africa’s leading business solutions provider, partnered with The Great Sporting Goods Company to leverage the technology of a unique flat-sided ball, the Shadowball, which allows players to pass and catch the ball alone so as to increase individual practicing time and improve accuracy.
Equal opportunities for success
The programme upskilled schools, selected by the network of Nashua franchises, as well as assisting the broader community by working with corresponding development (underprivileged) schools.
“It was enriching to see children exposed to new opportunities, resources and workingtogether as teams. What’s really unique about the NRSP is that it connects privileged schools with underprivileged schools through sports,” relayed the Nashua franchises, who rolled up their sleeves and got involved in the process.
The first round of the NRSP roadshow visited 32 schools and each school was seen twice – the second visit being an assessment for improvement. The NRSP gave every school ShadowBalls, a coach’s pass booster manual and a set of Google cardboard glasses with instructional footage for the coaches and kids.
Many of the schools showed substantial improvement when tested. Hendriena Combined School made it to the finals of their league and Buchule School showed increased performance by 110% after increasing practice time and improving accuracy with the ShadowBall.
Gary Crookes of The ShadowBall Academy, has worked closely with Nashua to conceptualise and rollout the NRSP. Amidst the enhancement of their rugby skills, learners were upskilled on broader life lessons: listening to instructions, dealing with disappointment, confidence and self-discipline.
“Our mission was to get youth participating in a sport they love, not only to keep them active and healthy, but to allow them the opportunity to develop key skills they can use later in life,” says Crookes.
While uplifting rugby in SA, Nashua was able to forge lasting partnerships with the schools. Many of the schools needed solutions to help with processes and improve efficiency for a quality education, which is core to Nashua’s offering.
Opportunities offered through the NRSP are life-changing for the children involved – and their families – and can change the way schools teach and train students to nurture future talent. In this way, the NRSP is effectively building a winning rugby nation.