After being influenced by his own rugby coaches, Ben Batger always knew he would stay involved in the game once it came time for him to stop playing.
When an opportunity came up to apply for the Emerging Talent Coach Program in 2019, he saw it as a chance to learn, develop his coaching philosophy and give back to the sport.
“I used to play and I wanted to stay involved in the game. As I got older, I got excited by the coaching aspect,” Batger said.
“My coaches were the reason I stayed involved in the game, and I wanted to be that person for other players.”
Batger was coached by Chris Hickey at the start of his career, and by John Manenti for his last five years of playing. Both men made their mark on Batger’s career as a player and as a coach.
“Chris and John are two coaches who have really been influential on my journey. Chris taught me how to work with the younger players, and John was really helpful with being able to work with the older players.
“Having the two of them to learn from in the early days is still something that I think has helped me to this day,” he said.
The Emerging Talent Coach Program also provided plenty of exposure to more coaches of Hickey and Manenti’s calibre.
“Being able to mingle and learn from other coaches throughout the 12-month course was super helpful. And learning from some of the most experienced coaches in our game, like Daryl Gibson, was a real treat,” Batger said.
Batger had played rugby at Eastwood since he was a junior in 2004. After retiring from playing in 2015, he worked his way to become appointed as Head Coach in 2019.
“Getting appointed to be the first grade coach at Eastwood has definitely been a highlight for me. It was a good reward for the years of hard work and consistency,” he said.
With NSW Rugby opening applications for the 2020/21 Emerging Talent Coach Program, Batger encouraged anyone who might be considering applying to get involved.
“Definitely do it - it's a good way to upskill, and build a network to help after the course has finished,” Batger said.
“All the book work doesn't seem important, but it really gives you the clarity that you need and reinforces the things that you've learnt along the way,” he said.
Applications for the 2020/21 Emerging Talent Coach Program are now open, to apply - click here
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