Walter shares his commitment to the hospitality industry with us from NH Linate, a business accommodation in the heart of the commercial area in thriving Milan. Used to building up teams and making things work, this friendly Italian father applies his skills to his true passion: coaching Sereno Rugby, a club for kids under 12.
What’s the main skill needed to coach kids?
A rugby coach, whether for kids or adults, must be essentially an educator. In this sport you must teach how to give and ask for respect, the very base of rugby that you should learn even before the rules.
Is it hard to keep them together?
Kids have a limited capability to focus, they get easily distracted with each other. That’s when I need to use negotiation techniques.
Some assistants are needed –training captains- named randomly from the group. These captains split the kids into smaller groups, each one is given a color. The group grows respect for the assistant, who is responsible for it. This is how the spirit of competitiveness is born.
Walter, do you play rugby?
I’m captain in OLD. OLD is a category for middle-age nostalgic people. I can tell you that it’s easier to lead these gentlemen although many of them are in charge of big companies and banks. In this case the rule is simple: we all must be on one common ground for the sake of the team, be ourselves unlabeled by our job position.
Bringing together work and sport is not easy at all, especially working as a manager and as a coach since both of them demand high responsibility, accurate punctuality and unexpected problem solving. My vice-coach helps me when I can’t be available for the kids.
Could you tell us a little about your club?
Our club, Seregno Rugby, is a small structure born in 2008 that is growing due to the huge efforts made. For us, the difference is made by the kid’s parents. They help us all the time with their own resources building the team up. There are who paint the lines on the field, who supply the water and who cook the meat and sandwiches the players will eat after the third time.
Under 12 category is the last one regarding mini-rugby and does not compete in championships. But every fortnight from spring to autumn they challenge themselves on the rugby-field. During winter-time the activities change, because of cold weather or school attendance: two hours training twice a week.
Are they associated to any league? How have they been doing so far? Any future plans?
This year the season begins the first of September. Some players are new and need to get used to the team, others are experienced veterans and others have been promoted from lower categories.
I’m sure they will make a perfect team again, always stepping it up a notch and developing a good environment. The main deal is to transmit to the players that respect is not subject to negotiation. Enjoying passionately every moment of our lives is learning that struggle is the only solution that transcends and overcomes difficulties.
I strongly advise them to listen to the oldert figures because they are huge for some reason. To think before taking action because every action they undertake, whether right or wrong, will teach them something.
According to your experience, what values can rugby teach?
Rugby is not a violent sport as many think. Teaching the kids that anger must be tamed through dialogue is the best solution. Let them know that the players on the other side and in another color are there to have fun as well.
Because that’s sport, pure fun, and it’s us, the coaches, who must grow this feeling, teaching by example. Knowing that sometimes you win and some others you lose.
It’s knowing that commitment, discipline and every value of rugby reaches out of the field and must be applied to every moment and time of our lives.