HP Friday returns; what to expect at NDS 2017

Only six weeks remaining until the 2017 National Development Summit and details are continuing to emerge around one of American rugby's most anticipated annual gatherings.

One of the biggest hits at the 2016 Summit was the opportunity to attend practical sessions with high-level coaches from USA Rugby and abroad on Friday. Dubbed HP Friday for High Performance, Australia Wallabies Head Coach Michael Cheika and USA Rugby National Teams & Performance General Manager Alex Magleby demonstrated how principles at the highest level of the sport can be used by coaches at any level of the game.


Register for the 2017 Summit in Baltimore


HP Friday returns to the 2017 event in Baltimore with double the sessions and a focus not only on high performance principles of coaching, but refereeing, as well.

"Referees will learn to identify and break down issues in their game utilizing the concepts of deliberate practice and active training," USA Rugby Youth Director and World Rugby match official Kurt Weaver said of the new referee session. "This session is great for rugby referees looking to improve their product on the field, or for referee coaches hoping to gain insight to a new way to improve their referees."

Weaver will be joined by Olympian Ryan Carlyle, Magleby, and Women's Eagles Sevens Head Coach Richie Walker. Presentations will be offered in four sessions Friday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. ET.

After HP Friday sessions conclude, all participants will join the rest of the NDS crowd for the welcome reception at Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel. The Inner Harbor is known across the country for its redevelopment success, and boasts amazing views of the harbor and Patapsco River.

Saturday and Sunday feature technical and workshop sessions with opportunities to hear from leaders in the community in topics as varied as coaching, fundraising, youth development, and facility operations. Sunday will feature a focus on USA Rugby's Rookie Rugby development and offers certification to any NDS participants.

Throughout the conference, attendees can visit the exhibit hall, where they will find deals from the world's leading rugby suppliers, from businesses as varied as promotional to athletic wear to mental performance. The exhibit hall will also see robotic tackle dummies created by Mobile Virtual Player (MVP) roaming the hall with MVP performing a demonstration with the dummies in the ballroom at 11:30 am. ET Saturday.

The entire conference builds to a crescendo Saturday night with the annual NDS Gala and Dinner. USA Rugby Chief Executive Officer Dan Payne will welcome the crowd prior to announcing the Coach of the Year Awards. Last year, Cheika regaled the crowd with stories of his Wallabies upbringing, encouraging everyone to make the Wallabies their second favorite team (to the Eagles, of course).

Tickets and hotel rooms are going fast - be sure to register for the NDS today.