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Mike Friday is just a few days, officially, on the job as USA’s head 7s coach. And the question most in the American rugby public have for him is, how are you going to balance this new gig with your other new role as the director of rugby for the London Scottish?
“The reality is I’ve done it before. That’s how I did Kenya,” Friday told Rugby Today. “In terms of the way our performance cycles are set up, the high performance camps are the important things I’m at, along with the tours. Base camp training, which is heavily conditioned based and skills, can be set by me but is implemented by Chris (Brown).
“The way that we work as a cycle, is no different than say New Zealand work. Myself and Gordon (Tietjens) share a similar philosophy around preparing for the IRB World Series.”
For example, when the Eagles return from the Series opener in Gold Coast in October, players will receive a week off, return for two weeks of conditioning and technical skill work under Brown, and then get another four days off.
“People tend to forget rest and recover is a big part of being a rugby player,” Friday said.
Players will then reconvene for what Friday terms a high performance camp, get another four or so days off, and then go on tour.
“When I say high performance camp, it’s an overload camp on rugby, which mirrors what to expect and more on a World 7s Series tour. We will push the boys for a rugby workload in terms of physical fatigue, tactical fatigue and mental fatigue that will better prepare them for when they go on tour,” explained Friday.
“So a lot of the rugby work, the rugby education, will be in those high performance camps. What goes on in the base camps is heavily conditioned based and more technical improvements, but those technical improvements will be set by me and be based around the core skills and various elements.”
Friday will also lean heavily on 7s national development director Alex Magleby, who will look over the player identification and pathway side of things, as well as coordinate a network of technical advisors.
“Alex is a great organizer, great logistics man, and very creative in his forthright thinking. He’s created and helped develop this pathway structure to allow these players the best opportunity,” said Friday.
“The academies have been great, Seattle and Tiger and all the others, and I think (Magleby) is the man who will be the kind of development director bringing together the talent ID.
“There’s another load of coaches under that that are all kind of keen to learn and improve and try and identify and deliver new players, our kind of technical advisors, our technical network, our scouting network, so we’ve had a lot of them down as well. For me it’s an open house. We’re all in this together.”
Several of those technical advisors were on hand for Friday’s first weekend on the job at the Olympic Training Center, including former National Team coach Al Caravelli, 7s All Americans coach Tony Pacheco and Tiger coach James Walker.