Benny Lynch worked as a Club Development Officer in Lithuania, following his Rugby Coaching and Performance degree. Here, he speaks about the experience he had:
“Being half Lithuanian, following the BSc (Hons) Rugby Coaching and Performance at USW, I decided to move to Lithuania to take up a rugby coaching role, to help raise the profile of the sport. I messaged a series of contacts, which is how I landed the role of Club Development Officer, in the capital city Vilnius. During my degree, I wrote assignments and focused my dissertation on Lithuanian rugby. This came in handy when landing the position. My job required me to focus on the age-grade teams, as well as going into schools to educate pupils about rugby.
In Lithuania, I improved my language skills and learned how to overcome the various challenges of playing rugby – including the climate, low player numbers and very little exposure. I also had the opportunity to gain my Coach Educator License there. The highlight was coaching young people and helping them to discover the sport. The experience was brilliant, and it motivated me to return to the University, to study the MSc Sports Coaching and Performance. I want to take my coaching skills to the next level, and improve as an educator, to continue to grow the game of rugby in Lithuania, and further afield.
Rugby isn’t a well-known sport in Lithuania, and due to its low exposure, most people think it’s American Football. This was probably the biggest challenge I faced working there. My job was to teach young people the basics of the sport. These include the values of honesty, respect and integrity. Through my work in schools, we were able to recruit new players to the club.
During the rugby coaching and performance degree, I spend a summer coaching rugby in both Botswana and Zambia with the Bhubesi Pride charity. It sparked my interest in coaching rugby and raising its awareness, in countries where exposure to the sport is less. Before starting my master’s, I spent a summer coaching in Serbia with the Men's team and U18's 7’s national teams. It was great coaching an international team, and to add a new dimension to my skillset. I also learned about how the sport operates at a higher level.
The opportunities I’ve had are the result of gaining the relevant qualifications through my degree, to become a rugby coach. They were also through connections the teaching staff have, and me approaching teams for the chance. Behind every coach are hundreds of people who have supported them – but Dean Parsons, Ben Daniels, and Tom Cole have given me the skills, knowledge, experience, and confidence to pursue my dream. Also, a huge thank you to my parents, who have encouraged me every step of the way.”