The UBC Player Pathway outlines the developmental steps and goals for emerging rugby talent. It’s designed to give the athlete a clear understanding of the direction to take in order to progress toward their competitive aspirations. Working with National and Provincial level the the same protocol and incentives are used in pre-season, in-season and post-season programs. This ensures that all participating athletes at a minimum maintain a level of training consistent with Club objectives. Those that aspire to develop their skills further to the highest levels of competitive performance will have a sound foundation to build upon.
The Pathway is a transparent model designed to clearly track where the athlete is within the program. Athletes with questions or concerns about their progress within the program are encouraged to engage the coaching staff regarding their development. Inquiries will receive a respectful response and athletes can be assured of an honest assessment.
The program is designed to assess athletes and place them within a tier that matches their level of ability. These tiers are the Totems, Braves and Thunderbirds. This tiered approach gives the program a strong developmental core with direction. At each tier athletes will receive coaching with a consistent focus on player development. The incentive for achieving success in skills development and competitive performance is advancement to a higher tier of competition.
At the Totem level the athlete is introduced to the UBC style of play, acquires and develops non-negotiable skills. At this level the focus is on development and the culture of enjoying the sport. Athletes new to rugby and experienced players alike make up the team that takes the field. The Totems serve as an excellent conduit up to the other two programs, feeding talent upwards through the Club.
The Hawks are a U20 designated team that provides the opportunity for high school rugby graduates to hone their skills before moving into the men's game. At the same time, this group is closely aligned with Rugby Canada and the IRB's high level U20 representative age group. The playing environment allows the Hawks to improve their skills and physicality to prepare them to move on to the next level of play and the opportunity to be scouted as candidates for national team play. As with all levels of UBC Rugby, the Hawks player will be coached and trained to give them the ability to move up to the next level of the club.
At the Braves level athletes have mastered the technical skills and developed the tactical awareness necessary for a higher level of performance in competitive play. The skills and fitness of athletes at this level of play is often a significant step up for most athletes coming out of high school programs. Strong high school players can succeed at this level. Others may need development and seasoning at the Totem level before moving up intra-season. This team features players who have surpassed the level of play required for Totems’ competition and wish to progress to a higher level of competitions.
This is the top level of rugby at UBC. Performance demands are made of athletes at all levels in the program, however the highest demands are necessary at this level due to the level at which this team competes – BC Senior Men’s Rugby. This team is made up of the best talent within the program, regardless of age or seniority. The program is fortunate that a significant number of Thunderbirds have Provincial and International experience.